Channel 4 might stop buying US dramas

Once upon a time, Channel 4 was well known for being the home of quality US dramas – and rubbish US dramas, so notorious is probably a better word to pick. But with Lost having slipped through its fingers – to a sour grapes Channel 4 chorus of “Well, it wasn’t very good anyway, the ratings were dropping and we didn’t want it any more so you can keep it Sky One!” – Channel 4’s acquisitions head Jeff Ford is pondering whether the network can even afford to buy US shows any more:

“Acquisitions always used to be there (in our schedules) because they enabled us to afford to do other (more expensive) things,” Ford said. “If they get more expensive, we are going to have to say goodbye to them.”

Hmm. Won’t that put you out of a job, Jeff? For some reason, I missed the point in Channel 4 history when Desmonds was more expensive to make than Friends. Perhaps a bit of history rewriting in order to get a better deal out of the US networks? Some might well argue that Channel 4 used to be chock full of US shows because they got good ratings and were better than a lot of the rubbish that Channel 4 used to put out.

But if not, sounds like we can anticipate more Big Brother and cobblers like NY:LON in our C4 future then.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.