Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A Big ____ You To Zai Bennett

In 2011, the first series of Adrian Poynton's sitcom White Van Man - which had been lined up by Zai Bennett's predecessor Danny Cohen - achieved a series average of three quarters of a million viewers (with consolidated figures of more than 2 million across the run) for its premiere transmissions in March and April of that year: the second series, broadcast during February and March this year was moved to a different day and time slot by Bennett's scheduling team, and promptly dropped a near unprecedented 300,000 viewers, to just 480k for its opening episode. The series dipped to just 340k in the middle of the run, and averaged 403k over the six episodes. It has since been cancelled by Bennett but picked up for a US adaptation by the Disney-owned ABC network. Meanwhile, repeats currently ongoing on BBC One - now controlled by original White Van Man commissioner Danny Cohen - in a post-EuroMillions 11:30pm Friday Night slot have achieved 849k (original Three audience: 480k) and 1.06 million (440k). On the subject of Danny Cohen's scheduling the series for repeats on the corporation's flagship channel just weeks after Bennett had cancelled the show, one BBC employee told The British Comedy Guide: "This cannot be seen as anything other than a big 'fuck you' to Zai. Having originally commissioned it, Danny saw what a great show White Van Man was, and how much potential it had."