Angela Jain, ITV’s director of digital channels and acquisitions, on the shows she’s looking for on ITV2

What have been your key priorities since taking over ITV2 two years ago? 
Key priorities were comedy, injecting some smartness and wit into the programmes, 9pm series and a more determined focus on targeting a 16-34 audience looking for entertainment and fun.

Which commissions have worked well for you recently – and why?
Plebs was a concerted attempt to get into scripted. It worked because of the phenomenal talent in it, on and off screen, the incredible scripts and attention to detail throughout the production. It was the biggest scripted comedy hit in the channel’s history. The Big Reunion tapped into something new and potent – recent nostalgia – that, combined with the candid revelation of the popstars in the show made for a remarkable series and then a smash hit tour. The Magaluf Weekender was our attempt to tap into a rites of passage moment – the first time you go on holiday without your parents. Using a fixed rig we were able to capture much more nuanced conversations and enjoy the mayhem that is so much a part of growing up. It doubled the audience share for 16-24s in its slot.

What kind of changes would you like to see on the channel in the year ahead?
I would like us to to strengthen our relationship with comedy both acquired and original. And find some more hit shows.

What are your commissioning priorities? What are you looking for right now?
Commissioning priorities are scripted, 9pm returning series and lots of things I didn’t know I was looking for.

What is the one big thing you are missing from ITV2?
A lightly formatted entertainment series for 9pm that has the potential to run to 10 series.

Which slots are the most important?
10pm is broadly speaking our prime time. And I tend to only commission for post 9pm slots. I am simply looking for hit shows from the widest variety of people possible that share the same sense of fun, surprise and quality you find in our best shows. I wasn’t looking for a sitcom set in 27BC. I wasn’t looking for a show about popstars who were no longer popstars, but there you go.

Which new ITV2 shows are you most excited about in the near future – and why?

A young magician called Ben is the star of a new hidden camera magic show we have commissioned called Tricked. The reactions are genuine. And I love magic so I hope others do too. We have a special for Halloween called Release The Hounds which is scary and funny. The production and production design is superb. I think people will be slightly surprised to find this on ITV2 and I like that unpredictability.

What kind of genres/shows don’t work so well for ITV2?

We don’t commission factual or features shows, we are entertainment in the broadest sense of the word. Shows that tell you how to live your life don’t work as do shows that are mean or arch 
or sneery.

How important is it to attach well known talent to ITV2 shows?
It isn’t. But if there is a logic, an authenticity, a point to attaching well known talent, please do.

Tell us about what you have been watching, reading and listening to outside work?
I have been watching The Story of the Jews and The Great British Bake Off, currently my older son’s favourite TV programme. I read Americanah on holiday –just wonderful and have been evangelical in my recommendation of it – and read Mr Wolf’s Pancakes or Bob The Man On The Moon pretty much very night. And it’s Radio 4 in the mornings and Radio 1 at the weekend.

Which shows on other channels have you admired recently?

Spy, Fresh Meat and Bad Education. In fact, we have commissioned a pilot from Freddie Syborn, the co-writer on Bad Education, a love story set in a post-apocalyptic world. Very exciting.

Any tips for pitching to you?

Be passionate, be succinct and tell me jokes.

Angela Jain CV
2011 – 2013 
Present – director of digital channels and acquisitions, ITV
2007 – 2011 
Head of E4 and Big Brother
2005 – 2007 
Commissioning editor, factual entertainment, C4
2002 – 2005 
Deputy controller of entertainment, Five

Before moving into commissioning Jain worked in production, producing and directing on shows such as T4, The Real Deal and Right To Reply. She started her career in Children’s at the BBC.

Top ITV2 shows of 2013
Celebrity Juice                  2.45m (12%)
The Only Way is Essex    1.65m (8.4%)
The Big Reunion              1.57m (5.8%)
Britain’s Got More Talent  1.49m (8.1%)
Peter Andre: My Life        1.42m (5.6%)

Tim Dams

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