New ITV digital channel targets male viewers with 'Kojak' remake

ITV is pinning its hopes on a remake of the cult 1970s television show Kojak to woo elusive male viewers to a new digital channel. Research conducted by the broadcaster has shown that younger men are no longer tuning in to its mainstream terrestrial channel ITV1.

So on 1 November, ITV is launching a new channel, available free-to-air on all digital platforms, designed to appeal to men aged 25 to 44. Men in this age group are much sought after by advertisers, but are also the hardest to reach, as they are traditionally light television viewers.

The answer, ITV has decided, is US imports. American drama, movies and talk shows will dominate the new channel, ITV4. Sport will also feature heavily, including Champions' League and World Cup football, boxing and the Tour de France.

One of the highlights will be a new version of the US cop show Kojak. In the series, which has already aired in the US, Ving Rhames, who starred in Pulp Fiction and Mission: Impossible, reprises the role of the lollipop-sucking New York detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak, made famous by Telly Savalas.

Stephen Arnell, the ITV4 channel editor, insisted that fans of the original series would not be disappointed. "It's far more gritty than the original series. It's not a retread, it's a re-imagining. In the States, it's already been a sizeable hit and has been recommissioned for a second series," he said.

Despite the lack of live programming, ITV4 will be given a topical feel by The Late Show with David Letterman, which it will broadcast nightly the day after it goes out in the US. The Larry Sanders Show, a comedy talk programme, is another acquisition.

Films on the channel will include Full Metal Jacket, Carlito's Way and The People vs Larry Flynt as well as the feature-length documentaries, Outfoxed and The Hunting of the President.

Mr Arnell insisted that ITV4 would be closer in style to the upmarket men's magazines Arena and GQ than downmarket lads' mags Zoo and Nuts. "There's a male skew. The programming will be hard-hitting, but we're not going to go along the route of soft porn. It's something you can watch with your partner," he said.

Nigel Pickard, ITV's director of programmes, said: "There's an important segment of the population for whom ITV is less relevant than others. ITV4 is for men who are discerning about their television, men who know their sport and men who know their movies."

The channel will join a digital portfolio including ITV2, which recently overtook Sky One as the UK's most-watched digital channel, and the "golden oldies" channel ITV3. A dedicated children's channel is also in the offing.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat