The Apprentice is losing its lustre. ITV continues to struggle to find new hit shows. An obvious synthesis suggests itself.
Next spring, every Wednesday at 9pm, ITV should screen a series involving a dozen wannabe broadcasting moguls, competing for a crucial position on the staff of the country’s erstwhile favourite commercial broadcaster.
It is a job with a six-figure salary, in the employ of a man who oversees a “substantial business empire”: Sir Michael Grade.
Each week the candidates must perform a task to demonstrate some aspect of telly nabobbery. And each week one will be fired. “You’re out”, Grade will say, and point his finger.
Grade will be helped in his quest by two close associates and industry veterans: Greg Dyke (catchphrase: “cut the crap and make it happen”) and Liz Forgan (“this isn’t Channel 4, you know”).
Tasks will involve:
– assembling a Saturday night schedule
– being grilled by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee at the House of Commons
– negotiating pretend salary deals with big talent
– solving a pretend industrial dispute
– devising a format for a new Sunday night family-friendly shiny floor show
– a war game-style event involving the channel responding to a national crisis
The final will require each of the remaining candidates to commission, prepare and produce a live half hour of television, which will be shown sequentially on ITV, which will be appraised by a focus group in real time (viewers will be able to see the group’s live reactions on ITV2), and which will be followed by the conclusion of the series and Grade’s decision. The winner will then be escorted over to ITN for an IMMEDIATE appearance on News at Ten.
Oh, and the name of the series: Making The Grade.