ITV admits it has no plans for more musical theatre talent shows

ITV has revealed it has no current plans to do any more musical theatre talent search shows, admitting that it was a “little disappointed” with Superstar’s ratings.

Speaking at this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival, ITV director of entertainment Elaine Bedell said Superstar, which cast the lead for a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, “didn’t do huge numbers” in terms of ratings.

She said it been a “bold” decision to show the series nightly, admitting that it would have worked better had it been shown weekly, and added that the broadcaster is not currently planning any similar series.

“We are not talking about doing one at the moment, but I don’t think we would be against doing another one,” she said.

By showing the series nightly, Bedell said audiences did not get to see the talent develop as they would have, had the show been broadcast weekly.

“We were trying to give the audience a blast of entertainment before the Olympics started. We knew we would have a quiet time during the Olympics and we did not have enough Saturday nights to do the whole series across Saturday nights. But it [broadcasting a show nightly] presents a lot of challenges with a talent show as actually, they [the contestants] don’t have time to improve and go off and rehearse. You don’t get the same sense of progression that you get if you put it out on Saturday nights.”

However, Bedell said she thought the series, made by ITV Studios, had “fantastic” production values. She said the show had also made an “amazing discovery” in Ben Forster, the winner of Superstar.

Bedell was speaking on a panel discussing Saturday night entertainment shows, where she was joined by Mark Linsey, controller of entertainment commissioning at the BBC, which has previously broadcast Lloyd Webber’s talent shows.

Speaking about the ITV series, he said: “It is really hard to produce that type of show, live each night, under that sort of pressure. I think it missed Graham [Norton] and his relationship with Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was a bold thing to do but it didn’t quite come off.”

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