Taskmaster to move to Channel 4?


Wednesday 6th November 2019, 11:56am

  • UKTV may lose the rights to broadcast new series of Taskmaster on Dave
  • Channel 4 is reportedly in talks to take over the show for Series 10
  • The channels are negotiating with Avalon, the production company that makes and owns the format

Industry reports are suggesting that TV channel Dave has not yet managed to secure the rights to broadcast further series of its hit comedy show Taskmaster.

British Comedy Guide understands that negotiations are ongoing, but reports are playing up the chance of production company Avalon moving the programme to a different broadcaster.

The comic challenge show, created by Alex Horne and co-hosted by Greg Davies, launched on Dave in 2015. It has so far run for nine series, with the latest due to conclude this evening (Wednesday 6th November).

The format is a huge hit for UKTV, bringing millions of viewers to Dave and its catch-up service UKTV Play. It is believed the network had agreed a 5-year licence from Avalon, expiring at the end of this year.

TBI Vision reports that Channel 4 is now in active talks to take over the show.

If true, this would not be the first show Channel 4 has ‘poached’ from a rival broadcaster in recent years. C4 successfully acquired The Great British Bake Off format in 2016, taking over from the BBC.

Notably, Alex Horne and Avalon are understood to have offered the programme to Channel 4 before UKTV when first pitching it, but the terrestrial broadcaster turned them down.

Trade magazine Broadcast has also reported the potential move, saying: “There is industry speculation that Channel 4 is ‘actively engaged’ in early-stage talks with the production company about picking up the five-year old show if an agreement with UKTV cannot be reached.”

The trade magazine adds: “ITV has also made no secret of its admiration for the innovative format.”

Since launching, the multi award-winning Taskmaster has been broadcast countries around the world, and re-made by broadcasters in territories including America, Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Sweden.

Who will secure the rights to broadcast further series would appear to be related directly to money. Earlier this year, Avalon executive Jon Thoday said he was concerned that, following BBC Studios taking full ownership of UKTV in June, it would lead to a reduction in spending at the network on independently-produced shows.

British Comedy Guide understands that Taskmaster is already one of UKTV‘s most expensive commissions.

Broadcast magazine quotes an industry source as saying: “It’s a huge hit on the channel but UKTV can’t accept that it needs to re-negotiate properly. Independent production companies have to make money out of shows when they’re hits, otherwise they can’t keep going.”

British Comedy Guide approached UKTV, but the broadcaster declined to comment.


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