12 candidates. One channel. Sir Michael’s quest…begins.

The Apprentice is losing its lustre. ITV continues to struggle to find new hit shows. An obvious synthesis suggests itself.

Next spring, every Wednesday at 9pm, ITV should screen a series involving a dozen wannabe broadcasting moguls, competing for a crucial position on the staff of the country’s erstwhile favourite commercial broadcaster.

It is a job with a six-figure salary, in the employ of a man who oversees a “substantial business empire”: Sir Michael Grade.

Each week the candidates must perform a task to demonstrate some aspect of telly nabobbery. And each week one will be fired. “You’re out”, Grade will say, and point his finger.

Grade will be helped in his quest by two close associates and industry veterans: Greg Dyke (catchphrase: “cut the crap and make it happen”) and Liz Forgan (“this isn’t Channel 4, you know”).

Tasks will involve:

– assembling a Saturday night schedule
– being grilled by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee at the House of Commons
– negotiating pretend salary deals with big talent
– solving a pretend industrial dispute
– devising a format for a new Sunday night family-friendly shiny floor show
– a war game-style event involving the channel responding to a national crisis

The final will require each of the remaining candidates to commission, prepare and produce a live half hour of television, which will be shown sequentially on ITV, which will be appraised by a focus group in real time (viewers will be able to see the group’s live reactions on ITV2), and which will be followed by the conclusion of the series and Grade’s decision. The winner will then be escorted over to ITN for an IMMEDIATE appearance on News at Ten.

Oh, and the name of the series: Making The Grade.

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4 Responses to 12 candidates. One channel. Sir Michael’s quest…begins.

  1. Gavin says:

    I take it the spin-off show on ITV 2 will be hosted by Fearne Cotton & Holly Willoughby with contributions by Keith Lemon, Greg Dyke, & Myleene Klass?

  2. Andy Elms says:

    This could be real event television – especially if block scheduled over two weeks, in the same was Millionaire was when it was exciting.

    Surely the winner of the final is the one who manages to get the most combined sponsorship/advertising profit from their half-hour of TV, with each half hour segment having a different price according to its peak-timey-ness.

    Although, following in the footsteps of ITV1’s Mr. Right, Sir Michael Grade subsequently decides to ditch the lot and employ Greg Dyke…

  3. Rob Williams says:

    Oooh, oooh! May I enter please sir!

  4. TV Cream says:

    Better still – this could now be a quest to find Sir Michael’s replacement: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8013801.stm

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