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E4 invests in U.K. material

Cohen investing more coin in local productions

One of the U.K.’s most successful digital webs, E4, intends to scale down its reliance on U.S. fare.

As much of 75% of E4’s schedule is devoted to skeins like “Friends,” “The Sopranos” and “The OC.”

But station controller Danny Cohen, announcing his 2007 line-up, said he was investing more coin in U.K. productions.

“In an increasingly competitive market for U.S. material, and with some of the prices for these shows reaching the stratosphere, it makes sense to put more money into home-grown shows,” he said. “I’d also like E4 to start behaving more like a traditional network rather than a niche channel.”

E4, aimed at the 16-to-34 demo, is owned by hybrid commercial/pubcaster Channel 4. Station acquisitions topper, Jeff Ford, warned recently that U.S. programs risk pricing themselves out of the market.

However, U.S. skeins continue to dominate the New Year E4 line-up.

“Ugly Betty” will preem on E4, before being broadcast on Channel 4. Other new U.S. shows include “Runaway” and “What About Brian.”

“In September 2005, our top ten was entirely made up of episodes of ‘Friends’ and ‘Lost,'” Cohen explained. “This September there were six shows in our top 10.”

New original programs include raunchy teen drama, “Skins” and “Sex Court,” a comedy reality show in which partners accuse one another of inconsiderate bedroom behavior.

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