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U.K. TV networks operator ITV will expand its lineup of free-to-air channels with the launch of a network that will target young women.
The channel, dubbed ITVBe, will launch later this year and feature lifestyle and reality shows from the U.K. and the U.S., including ITV’s The Only Way is Essex, one of Britain’s answers to Jersey Shore and The Hills.
Among U.S. content, ITVBe will air the Real Housewives franchise, which currently is part of the daytime lineup of its ITV2 channel.
ITVBe is scheduled to launch toward the end of the year and will take over some programming currently on ITV2, which ITV said will further sharpen its focus on being “the home of unashamed entertainment for 16-34 year olds.” ITV2 features scripted series, panel shows and youth skewing, humorous originals and acquisitions.
“ITVBe will be a terrific new addition to our family of channels,” said ITV CEO Adam Crozier. “It reinforces our plan to maximize audiences and revenues from our broadcasting business. Alongside our recently announced new pay [drama] channel ITV Encore, this is another important step forward in our strategy to become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the U.K.”
Added Peter Fincham, director of television at ITV: “Expanding ITV’s family of channels to introduce a new free-to-air, female skewing channel focusing on entertainment and reality means our viewers will have access to even more great content. We identified an opportunity to develop what is currently part of the ITV2 schedule – reality and non-scripted shows, which are very popular with young women and housewives with kids – into a distinct channel proposition, aimed more squarely at that audience.”
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