Home improvement

Jackson sez Brit TV should follow U.S.

Brits have a lot to learn from their U.S. counterparts about making great TV shows even better, according to Paul Jackson, ex-topper of Granada America.

The veteran executive, who recently returned to the U.K. as director of entertainment and comedy at commercial giant ITV, said U.S. webheads and their creative teams consistently set the bar higher.

“They do it differently over there … they do it bigger and better. That’s what America teaches you,” he said.

“Even when a show is a hit, they will pull out all the stops to improve it and make it even better next time ’round. I love that about America. By comparison we are a bit laid-back.

“We have things to learn from the rigor of the U.S. system. We need to learn that you’ve never finished editing, never finished writing and never finished when it comes to ensuring the talent has delivered a definitive performance.”

This rigor also extended to financial controls on big-budget shows, he said, where every cost is audited.

Addressing a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch Jackson, a former entertainment topper at the BBC, said he admired the way U.S. networks have stuck with sitcoms despite a lack of hits. This is in contrast to ITV, which has virtually abandoned comedy in recent years, something Jackson hopes to change.

Jackson used the lunch to unveil one of his first ITV commissions, animated series “Flanimals,” based on the bestselling books by Ricky Gervais, co-creator and star of “The Office.” Gervais will write and narrate the program.

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