Primeval Cancelled

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Media Guardian carries the news that Primeval has been dropped by ITV. As a cheap substitute for Doctor Who, Primeval did its best to capture that Saturday evening family audience, but with half the original cast missing and an obviously slashed special effects budget, the last series struggled.

It still managed over 5 million viewers, but in ITV’s world this was hardly enough to justify the production costs. Computer-generated special effects are less than convincing when budgets are low, and Primeval kind of painted itself into a corner with the whole dinosaur + giant insect vibe.

ITV is not getting the advertising income to make shows like this. The current home of quality drama is HBO in the USA, which operates under a subscription model (like the licence fee, but voluntary), but really gets most of its money from pay-per-view boxing, so is able to afford the production budgets.

The solution, it seems to me, is clear. The BBC hinted at it last weekend, when it warned its “talent” that there would be pay cuts of between 25 and 40%. People making telly need to pay themselves a bit less.

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