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Channel 5 to remain loyal to U.S. shows

In-house shingle to produce up to five shows a year

LONDON — U.S. shows will remain at the heart of U.K. terrestrial web Channel 5’s schedule, even though it now has its own in-house shingle.

Channel 5 program topper Jeff Ford, speaking to the Broadcasting Press Guild Wednesday, said, “We are simply the home of the best of the U.S. and that is not going to change.”

By volume 48% of the station’s schedule consists of acquired fare.

Channel 5 set up a production arm last year.

Ford said it would produce a maximum of five shows a year and focus on factual entertainment. Already greenlit is a cooking series featuring celebrity chef Marco Pierre White.

In the longterm, Ford also plans home-grown, cost effective drama and scripted comedy.

Having recently acquired ABC’s fantasy skein “Once Upon a Time” from Disney, and the reboot of iconic soap “Dallas,” Ford said the emphasis for imports remained on shows that can deliver sizable audiences.

He stressed: “As our acquisitions need to get 1.5 million viewers, I don’t think you are going to see that many non-U.S. acquisitions on the main channel. But we will look at accessible, mainstream shows from places like Australia for our digital channels.”

The web has no intention of following the BBC and ITV by buying subtitled Scandinavian drama such as “The Killing.”

Ford indicated that political thriller “Homeland,” which received rave reviews when it bowed Feb. 19 on rival Channel 4, was too niche for 5.

“I don’t think ‘Homeland’ would have been right for us. It is a very intense show… We almost got the first series of ‘Glee.’ That would have been great for Channel 5.”