Thousands of young people across the country will miss out on watching repeats of Made in Chelsea and The Big Bang Theory on election day when E4 will shut down for the day to encourage 16-34-year-olds to vote.
Channel 4 has announced it will be switching off E4’s regular schedule on 7 May in a bid to stop young people watching TV and to get them out to vote in the general election.
The channel will shut down when polling stations open at 7am, and will resume its usual schedule at 7pm (to the relief of Hollyoaks fans).
Viewers tuning in to watch E4 during the day will instead see a guy called Darren, who mans the “E4 control room”, wondering around.
The uninterrupted footage of Darren will be accompanied by text explaining to viewers why the channel’s normal shows have been suspended in the hope it will encourage them to vote.
‘Darren’ has been introduced to the TV viewing public in a campaign video, featuring him in the channel’s control room, deciding whether to turn E4 on or off.
Dan Brooke, Channel 4’s chief marketing and communications Officer, said: “Less than half of under-25s voted at the last election so we’ve engaged the most powerful weapon that we have at our disposal to try and boost that number – switching off their favourite TV channel for the day!”
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E4 is the number one digital channel for 16-34 year old viewers, attracting a 5.2 per cent share of the younth demographic to date this year – beating BBC2 and Channel 5.
The E4 shut down is one of many initiatives Channel 4 has in store to engage young people with the general election.
On Monday 28 April, Channel 4 will stream the first ever Youth Leaders’ Debate online in association with Shout Out UK.
In an online exclusive, seven youth party leaders will go up against each other as they tackle the key issues for young voters.
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