Itself a rebranding of what was originally BBC Choice, the channel has struggled to be taken seriously despite its early success in launching seminal comedy serials such as The Mighty Boosh and Gavin and Stacey. Aside from safe bets like nightly reruns of early Family Guys, the channel has taken to fleshing out the schedule with such sensations as ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ ‘Hotel of Mum and Dad’ ‘Invasion of the Job Snatchers’ and ‘Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents’.
The channel reportedly has budget only for one original drama series a year, so despite the recent thriller ‘In the Flesh’ doing well at the BAFTAs it will be cut along with hoards of others when they move to online only later in the year.
This downsizing of operations has faced resistance from many in the industry, who claim that Three is a unique platform for burgeoning young writers and gives invaluable opportunities to developing talent in the industry.
Earlier this week then, in step Avalon and Hat-Trick who put forward a £100million bid for a takeover of the channel. Being two of the biggest comedy producers in the country and suppliers of BBC Three programs such as ‘Russell Howard’s Good News’, they’re certainly qualified and declared that under their leadership they would balloon it’s commissioning budget from £81m up to £100m. This bold move has been dismissed by others in the industry as a stunt, and admittedly no one seems to have a clear idea of how they would operate, being that it is funded by the license fee.
This certainly reeks of a PR stunt, but one that could be successful in getting the BBC to reconsider their shake-up of operations, they stress that it is not for sale and intends to better serve its target market of internet-centric young people from the web.
We shall wait and see.