ITV denies Dickinson daytime deal

ITV has denied stealing talent and formats from the BBC, in the battle for supremacy in daytime TV.

The station’s head of Daytime TV, Liam Keelan, said he didn’t pinch the idea for an auction house quiz show hosted by David Dickinson, despite the Beeb having a similar programme idea in development, with the antique expert at the helm.

The revelation came during a session at the Edinburgh International TV Festival on the value of daytime schedules to the main terrestrial channels.

Instead, Keelan said it was coincidence that he had been developing a format so close to the BBC’s idea – prompting Jay Hunt, controller of BBC Daytime, to raise her eyebrows and remark that rivalry between channels could become a problem as the competition over daytime viewers increased.

At least Dickinson is wanted. The hit show, Deal or No Deal, had a much more varied journey to screen. ITV bought the show three years ago, but maker, John de Mol, refused to sell it to them as a daytime slot.

By the time he’d changed his mind last year, ITV turned it down. When Channel 4 stepped in to buy the programme, comedian, Les Dennis, was slated to present it. It was alleged that Noel Edmonds initially turned down offers to front the money-winning format, believing it would not work.

The Deal or No Deal experience – given its subsequent success –  may show, in the old Hollywood adage, that nobody knows anything.

There was agreement, though, on the panel for ‘Daytime: The New Peak Time’, that the hours between 9 am and 7pm were increasingly crucial to any channel’s success.

In the near future, ITV hopes to commission a new daytime drama series, while the programme that made teatime ‘sexy’ – Ready Steady Cook – is soon for the chop.