ITVplc has announced that it had acquired So Television, the independent production company behind series such as So Graham Norton for Channel 4, BBC one chat show The Graham Norton Show and comedy series The Sarah Millican Television Programme for BBC Two.
ITVplc, via its wholly owned subsidiary ITV Studios, will pay an upfront cash consideration of £10m with a further cash payment contingent on So Television’s profit performance to 31 July 2016. The maximum total consideration payable is £17m.
So Television, set up by Graham Norton and Graham Stuart 12 years ago, focuses on comedy and entertainment shows, factual entertainment and drama. Earlier this year the BBC recommissioned one of the company’s main productions – The Graham Norton Show – through to 2014. The series is also distributed internationally and is broadcast in 100 other countries, including in peaktime on Channel Ten in Australia.
‘The acquisition fits with a key objective of ITV’s five year Transformation Plan – to create world class content for multiple platforms, free and pay, both in the UK and internationally.’ The broadcaster, behind top quality productions such as Keith Lemon and The Only Way Is Essex, stated seriously.
Denise O’Donoghue, Managing Director, ITV Studios UK, said: “So Television is known for its creative rigour and intense quality-control across its programming, whether that is its crown jewel, The Graham Norton Show, or its newer but no less brilliant The Sarah Millican Television Programme.
“Its programming presence on other channels is strategically terrific for ITV Studios, which has increased its output this year with new shows across the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky. I am really looking forward to having So as part of ITV Studios, working with Graham Stuart and his team to add even more value to this dynamic and successful production company.”
So Television also produces panel show Alexander Armstrong’s Big Ask for Dave, which was recommissioned earlier this year. ITV since the merger of Granada and Carlton in 2003 hasn’t been renowned for much in the way of high-quality output. Recently Angela Jain, director of digital channels and acquisitions at ITV said that “Keith Lemon is channel defining” …trashy, dumbed down and lowbrow are certainly channel defining.