Pair to co-produce six unscripted formats

“American Idol” creator Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment and ITV Studios, the production arm of U.K. terrestrial web ITV, have signed a co-production deal to develop six unscripted formats for the international market.

The deal renews collaboration between Fuller and ITV Studios topper Lee Bartlett, who worked together on “American Idol” when Bartlett was at Fox Network.

Bartlett, who declined to give financial details of the arrangement, said, “I believe our combined talents will give us a real opportunity to develop some innovative and exciting exploitable formats together.”

Fuller added: “ ’American Idol’ started life on ITV almost 10 years ago as ‘Pop Idol,’ and I’m delighted to be partnering again with ITV. Lee and I share an ambition to produce British shows that will appeal to TV audiences around the world.”

There is increasing pressure to come up with global hits as ITV prepares to announce a new wave of cuts, which may see some of its English studios close and more jobs lost.

Bartlett, who took over nine months ago, acknowledged that working for the web had involved a huge cultural shift following an extensive career in U.S. television.

“Sometimes I am having the time of my life (at ITV),” he said. “On the other hand, sometimes it just plain sucks.”

While he praised the quality of ITV’s staff and programs, Bartlett criticized the company for not always behaving “like a commercially creative company,” saying it was “too fragmented” with “too many layers of management.”

Greater understanding of “the programs that our customers want” was needed, he said. “We need one or two global hits. If we don’t focus on that, it won’t happen.”

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