With so much non-fiction product out there, the challenge for buyers is to corral programming which sets their service apart, but doesn’t break the bank. In this series, we ask buyers to pick a recent favorite and how it fits into their purchasing strategy.
Buyer: Peter Grimsdale, commissioning editor for religion and features, Channel 4
Pick: The Adam & Joe Show, produced by Hollywood-based World of Wonder
The premise: Two guys write, host, shoot and edit an entire show from a small apartment in South Brixton, England. ‘It sounds really quite bad,’ says Grimsdale. ‘But it’s not.’
Channel 4 used to run Take Over TV, an America’s Funniest Home Videos-type series. Some of the strangest, and most popular, footage came in from Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish, boyhood friends who’d been making and faking video productions for years. When Take Over ran out of steam, the duo got a shot at their own show. The success of the first four episodes, aired late Saturday nights in December, 1996, spurred Grimsdale to commission six more for later this year.
The show is made on a shoestring, and that’s part of the charm. It works for Grimsdale as he tends to fully finance projects he commissions under his features remit.
Insatiable pop-culture junkies, the boys run features like Stuff the Movies (recreations of hit movies starring stuffed toys), BaaadDad (Adam’s Dad pouring verbal venom on pop hits) and Vinyl Justice (raids of pop star’s homes to seek out wretched records).
It’s a strange fit with the rest of Grimsdale’s mandate, religion, but it meets the channel’s directive to appeal to tastes and interests not catered to by itv. Six or eight half-hours with an entertaining bent have worked best for Grimsdale, especially since the main strand runs on Saturday nights.
On the religion side, Channel 4′s main strand is Witness (12 one-hour films a year). Grimsdale’s definition of ‘religion’ includes films on polygamy, prostitution and the fate of babies born in prison: ‘We don’t go out of our way to label programming.’