Richard Desmond, the owner of Channel 5, is using his portfolio of gossip magazines in an attempt to turn around the fortunes of the broadcaster by replacing teatime show ‘Live from Studio 5’ with OK! TV, a new programme to exploit the brand of his celebrity magazine.
Struggling ‘Live from Studio 5’ will be replaced next month with the new show, expected to be introduced by a big marketing campaign and strong cross-promotion in Desmond’s fleet of tabloid newspapers.
‘Live from Studio Five’ is part of a £9m, five-year contract with Sky News, which produces the show. Desmond has been trying to end the contract since he took over the channel last year, and this news will be a blow to the 50 Sky staff who work on ‘Live from Studio Five’, and the channel’s news bulletins.
Desmond’s exploitation of his various media outlets has resulted in criticism from some sectors of the press. Tabloid Watch has pointed out that the Daily Express has been eager to both promote and exploit shows on Channel 5, with headline-grabbing articles appearing to be nothing more than advertisements.
Further concern has been raised by Desmond’s decision to cut off his paper’s ties with the press industry regulator, putting his tabloids in a position of self-regulation, with the Guardian‘s Roy Greenslade warning that people need to “maintain a close watch on the paper” for bad journalism.