New deadline: Monday 16th May
We are looking to commission three non-TX format pilots at 100k each this year – going into production Q3/Q4 in 2022, ready to TX in 2023. For those pilots that go to series next year, our tariffs are 160-180k per 60’ ep and we usually commission 6/8/10 eps – so all ideas must sustain as repeatable closed eps.
These pilots can range in length as they’re not TX – it could be a whole ep or a shorter proof of concept.
Have a look at the pilots we did last year on All 4 to see the range in subject and tone: Naked and Alone and Racing to Get Home; One Night Stand; Kinky Daters and The One Stop Wedding Shop.
The deadline for idea submission is Monday 16th May. Please submit a deck outlining how the format works and beats across the episode. You can send these ideas to any E4 commissioner you have a good relationship with – please see below for their details.
In terms of subject matter for these format pilots, this is a broad steer – as long as it’s not too niche, there’s real-world purpose baked in and it can play at 10pm, which is a big feeder for All 4. Our viewers are expecting high drama, purpose and humour from E4 formats, and a subversive topline always helps, which is why we commissioned One Night Stand from pilot to series and why we’re excited about our forthcoming series Send Nudes.
Please also read our steers below for more info on E4’s tone and subject range.
Every show on E4 must also drive All 4 – we’re proud to play a starring role in the Future4 strategy. Five of our shows are in the top 10 performing titles on All 4: Married at First Sight, Hollyoaks, Teen First Dates, The Real Dirty Dancing and Made in Chelsea. We want to be an even beefier presence on that list so we can continue this not-so-humble brag.
In general, E4 viewers expect our content to be full of big, memorable characters. They’re looking to us for fun, shock and shareable moments that will make their Whatsapp groups light up. Our viewers like asking themselves what they would do in the situation our contributors find themselves in e.g. “how would I cope if I married a stranger?” like in Married at First Sight.
We are currently looking for ideas that will go into production in 2023, which isn’t as far away as you think...
E4’s three pillars in more detail:
Lower-cost repeatable formats – This year we want to commission three non-TX pilots at 100k each – we’ve now got form with these, having commissioned two brilliant new series from the pilots we did last year (One Night Stand and Naked and Alone and Racing to Get Home). We will pilot new ideas in Q3/Q4 this year, go intro production at the end of 2022, ready to TX in 2023.
Our tariff for formatted series is 160-180k per 60’ ep and we usually commission 6/8/10 episodes (and sometimes more), so there’s economy of scale.
It’s important to remember that young people are engaged by a huge range of topics on linear and VOD – from money to relationships, family, property, medical and more. What makes these formats feel E4 is often the execution – the tone of voice, formatting and how we’re producing contributors. Upcoming series Send Nudes is a great example of this.
Formats could be experimental in form or tone, but should still have some purpose and scale. We’re more likely to back an idea that’s a funny, quirky take on a tried and tested subject – like body image and family dynamics etc – rather than young, niche hobbies. Think Tattoo Fixers or Don’t Tell The Bride.
Character-driven factual – Unlike things that are two-dimensional, E4 is three-dimensional. We’re “surprisingly deep”. We’re looking for series that will surprise our audience with a range and depth of storytelling and boost our reputation for quality filmmaking. And while we’re at it, we’d also love to win some posh awards.
This is a newer avenue for E4 and we’re excited about our search for relatable casts located in real-world precincts as well as more constructed precincts, with big reality-style characters to hang the drama and entertainment around.
In general, our factual shows need to be loud, tabloid, glossy and fight for their position on All 4 as well as the EPG – and grabby, tabloid titles always help.
We’re looking for relatively low-cost series up to 150k per episode that can do volume at 8-10 episodes – which means there’s real pressure on stories and finding precincts that consistently deliver drama, jeopardy and humour.
For less formatted shows, we’re looking for glossy obs doc series that combine larger-than-life characters, authenticity and humour, often with a subversive undertone.
For more constructed shows like Teen First Dates, we’re looking for story engines full of big characters and varied backstories, that can do volume – but that still have roots in the real world.
We’re interested in shows that will bring in 16-24s on linear and VOD, which tend to be broad appeal shows with consistent high-drama e.g. 24 Hours in Police Custody, 999: What’s Your Emergency, First Dates and, in the past, the Educating brand.
We’re up for revisiting subject areas made famous by previous big shows if there’s a new approach and the characters immediately stand out.
We will fund the right developments if indies come to us with access or characters we’re excited by – as casting is key to getting these projects over the line.
Premium reality – We’re looking for reality shows with scale and purpose that can unfold in a long run (minimum 8 eps, up to 20 or even 30). Dating is still massively hot and is really universal, but it’s important for us to sow E4’s oats and eye up other territories, as long as they feel broad – we want these shows to appeal to young audiences but not exclusively.
Whatever space you land in, we think it’s important that your idea poses some sort of relatable dilemma that drives the drama and comedy in a natural way. Think MAFS UK or Celebs Go Dating.
We’re also always looking for new celeb reality ideas with purpose and authenticity, that are dramatic and inspire real emotional investment from the celebrities. As long as the idea is rooted in a legitimate question or truth, we want to hear it. What makes this cast want to participate (other than fee)? What will provoke emotional drama but isn’t too contrived?
Like a beautiful, bulbous onion – E4 has layers and we want to show them off to the world. Deep. We want addictive new shows that will deliver drama, but also reveal other character traits, for example: curiosity (could big talent show us their point of view on a world or make us question our pre-conceptions?); humour (what does funny factual look like on E4?) and relatability (what real worlds could we shine a light on through format or doc series that our audience will keep coming back for?)
We are a distinctive, dedicated (and down to earth) youth channel. We make content for young audiences, but not about them. We love risky, creative shapes for our shows, but the subject matter is often brilliantly broad in order to entertain viewers who are young at heart as well as young in age.
We’re lucky to have some exceptionally attractive faces on E4 – from Pete and Sam in Reality News to Paul, Anna and Tom in Celebs Go Dating – and we’re looking to welcome more talent to the E4 family who will bring more than just their following… We want personality, humour and points of view for our output so that a young audience will love engaging with E4 talent and shows. A few names we love: AJ Odudu, Fred Sirieix, Laura Smyth, Bimini, Desiree Burch, Daisy May Cooper, Vogue Williams, Joanne McNally and check out the brilliant talent we’re developing at the E4 Academy (Kaylee Golding, Ty Logan, Lydia Maddix and Joe Hobbs).
Channel 4’s genre teams will continue to meet with indies about new ideas for E4, via designated commissioning editors (listed below). We encourage indies to keep pre-existing dialogues going if they’re working well:
Entertainment: Genna Gibson – looking for premium reality and formats with scale that can be more heavily formatted and celeb or talent-based.
Factual entertainment: Vivienne Molokwu and Becky Cadman – looking for premium reality as well as clever, lower-cost fact ent formats.
Daytime and Features: Clemency Green – looking for playful, returnable formats in the lifestyle space – food, makeover, body image etc – that can deliver volume.
Documentaries: Anna Miralis and Simon Lee – looking for glossy obs doc series and constructed doc series.
To make sure we are inclusive and accessible to all, please let us know if you require any adjustments or assistance for meetings and communications with you.