Tuesday, May 05, 2020

ViacomCBS UK's Ben Frow Urges Prodcos to ‘Go the Extra Mile’

Frow urges prodcos to ‘go the extra mile’

ViacomCBS Networks UK’s director of programmes Ben Frow has urged production companies to “go the extra mile” in order to ensure that TV production is allowed to continue under lockdown.

Frow used his controller session at the digital version of the Edinburgh Television Festival to urge production companies to find alternative ways of producing during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockdown, to ensure ViacomCBS’s Channel 5 and other networks, including Nickelodeon can hit the ground running once things begin returning to normal.

“People are missing out on how much pre-production can be done at a time when we are self-isolating,” Frow said. “Of course, you can’t go out and film but you can be absolutely ready to go when the starting gun goes off.

“Certain production companies are making very compelling cases for why they should be able to resume filming and how they would do it safely, making sure they adhere to all our regulations.

“What’s been disappointing is how few production companies are prepared to go that extra mile and do the interrogation needed to make a compelling case for us to continue filming with them, or to start filming with them. I would urge people who have projects on hiatus to rethink that and really put the work in to make a compelling case to be able to film.”

Frow also revealed he is planning pessimistically and bracing the company and its productions for the possibility of a second wave of the virus.

“I am a bit of a ‘glass half empty’ person. I would much rather prepare for a worst-case scenario than be an optimist and be disappointed. I am prepared for, or will be prepared for, a second wave of the virus in the winter and want to be prepared for lockdown potentially happening again in some form or other,” he said.

“If it doesn’t come down, that’s fantastic. But if it does come down the tracks, what is our content going to be? There’s no point in looking at a four-month window in the summer where we’re going to make nine months’ worth of content; it’s not going to happen. We have to be really smart about that.”

Furthermore, Frow admitted his plans for ViacomCBS’s Comedy Central and MTV have currently been shelved for now.

The executive added the two channels to his remit, alongside Nickelodeon and Paramount Network, following a promotion late last year.

“I’ve got very big plans and they’re all on hold,” he said. “I have lots of ambitions but let’s be realistic – a lot of them are on hiatus along with some productions. We will be really limited with what we can do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be smart with what we’ve got and can’t be creative.

“I’m not going to be creating a whole load of new comedy programmes this year. That said, we’re still very creative with the schedule and we managed to get some good results in the past few weeks.”

More Nick: Nickelodeon International Orders New Live-Action Comedy 'Goldie’s Oldies'!

Original source: C21 Media.
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