Channel 4 pauses 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown production

News comes amid network’s ongoing slowdown in programming and warnings of job cuts

Maira Butt
Wednesday 08 May 2024 13:41 BST
Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont's last 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown before divorce

Channel 4 has pressed pause on 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown amid an ongoing slowdown in the network’s scheduling.

The popular comedy programme, a crossover of 8 Out of 10 Cats and Countdown, is hosted by comedian Jimmy Carr.

It features comedian Jon Richardson as a regular captain alongside a rotating guest captain, following the death of Sean Lock in 2021, and Countdown star Rachel Riley.

The series last aired in December last year and it’s been reported that Channel 4 are holding back new pre-recorded episodes from being aired.

A spokesperson also told Deadline that the channel has no plans to record another series on top of these episodes.

“We have already shot episodes which are ready to air,” said a spokeswoman. “To keep the show current we will shoot further episodes nearer transmission.”

Channel 4 was unable to confirm when the new episodes would be recorded, although a source told Deadline that talent availability and the ongoing slowdown of its programming as it attempts to spread shows out across its schedule, are part of the reason.

Countdown faced controversy last month when Riley was forced to say “sorry” after posting a tweet appearing to link the Sydney attack to Islamic extremism.

The show’s expert faced calls to be sacked by Channel 4 after falsely suggesting the fatal incident was linked to a rise in support for Palestine.

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The Independent has contacted Channel 4 for comment.

The popular show is on pause
The popular show is on pause (Channel 4 )

In January this year, the network warned staff of job cuts amid changes from TV to online streaming.

In a memo sent to staff, chief executive Alex Mahon said the business needs to get into the “right shape and the right size for the digital world” for the next decade.

“What we are doing now is accelerating our existing plans to weather the sharp and protracted advertising slowdown that has hit the whole industry,” she wrote.

Jimmy Carr presents the popular programme
Jimmy Carr presents the popular programme (Channel 4)

“We have been working carefully to minimise the impacts on individuals... I am sorry that some job cuts will inevitably be involved.”

Out of four of the network’s major 2023 entertainment launches, three have been axed in the past few weeks including Alone, Rise & Fall and Scared of the Dark. Only Tempting Fortune, hosted by Paddy McGuinness has been recommissioned.

In March, Channel 4 announced plans to invest millions of pounds worth of advertising in business founders it views as overlooked and underrepresented, as it shrugged off concerns about a TV advertising slump.

The broadcaster said it wants to start generating more money from digital advertising revenues as part of a push to grow its streaming services.

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