U.K.'s E4 Will Go Off Air On Day of Election to Encourage Youth Vote

E4 Election H 2015
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The youth-orientated channel, home to 'The Big Bang Theory', will pull regular programming on May 7.

In one of the more innovative GOTV initiatives of recent times, U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 will shut down its youth orientated channel E4 on the day of the country's general election in a push to encourage more young people to vote. 

The Guardian reports that E4, home to U.S. comedies The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, will replace regular programming on May 7 from 7am when voting begins to 7pm, although voting officially closes at 10pm. Instead, E4 plans to display a video of "Darren", the supposed controller of E4, holding the fort while the election is on. 


E4 is the number one digital channel for 16 to 34 year-olds in the U.K. and it's pre-election marketing will also tell viewers: “How many times have you missed life-changing events because you wanted to watch your favorite show?

“May 7 is election day and Darren is going to turn E4 off so you might as well go and vote. You won’t forget will you Darren?”

This is the first time a channel has taken itself off air during the voting period for the U.K. elections, the Guardian reports. Dan Brooke, Channel 4’s chief marketing and communications officer said: “Less than half of under-25s voted at the last election so we’ve engaged the most powerful weapon that we have at our disposal to try and boost that number – switching off their favorite TV channel for the day.”