more4Channel 4 is entering its next phase of creative renewal with a revamp of More 4, a raft of new programming and plans to up its spend to an all-time high of £600m next year.
Chief executive David Abraham revealed the ambition at the broadcaster’s Upfront event for advertisers on 2 November. He committed to at least maintaining the £576m spent on screen this year, and is hopeful that it will hit £600m even if there is a dip in the ad market. It is understood a predicted surplus of around £70-80m will be used to boost its budget in that event.
The overhaul of More 4 will refocus it as a lifestyle channel, with international documentaries strand True Stories moved to C4.

The strand, a mixture of acquisitions and commissions, will play on a week night in a 10pm slot from early 2012 and receive a 25% increase in investment.
More 4’s new identity will also be closely aligned with 4oD and the launch of a ‘digital scrapbook’, which will allow viewers to collect online C4 information together in one place.
Recipes, guides, tips and advice will be kept in the scrapbook, which is due to launch in April 2012 on initially, with the ambition of being integrated with 4oD.
Richard Davidson-Houston, head of Channel 4 Online, said the development would allow viewers to follow an interest from linear TV to interactive platforms. “It moves us beyond the traditional web-publishing model and allows us to have a closer relationship with our audience, providing us with valuable information and insight,” he added.

Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt’s ambition is for C4 to be “jam-packed with innovative new shows” for 2012. “We want to deliver large audiences and make some mischief; C4 should have a view on the big issues of the day,” she said. One element will be a When Britain Worked season, looking at the industrial revolution.
Darlow Smithson drama series The Mill has been ordered by C4 history commissioner Julia Harrington and will be based on the 20,000 letters, wage books, contracts and diaries from the Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire. The story will unfold from the view of the workers, with Garrow’s Law producer Dominic Barlow as executive producer.
And British motor racer Guy Martin, who Hunt introduced in BBC1’s The House That Guy Built, will rebuild iconic machines and buildings from Britain’s industrial past in North One’s six-part Guy Martin: Building Britain. It was also ordered by Harrington.

In a major scheduling decision, C4 will strip Monkey Kingdom’s live Home For The Holidays for 10 days culminating on Christmas Eve.
A soon-to-be-married couple’s relationship will be tested via decisions, temptations and games as their ill-suited extended families are brought together in a single house. The two families will have the chance to win £500,000.
Baking, which gave BBC2 a massive hit in the shape of Great British Bake Off, is the basis of Betty TV’s male-skewing Fabulous Baker Boys, and Blast! Films’ 10-part Three Nines will use a mix of fixed-rig and camera crews to look at the three emergency services in Blackpool.

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By Expat