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Kevin Lygo Discusses ITV at the Edinburgh TV Festival

Hosted by Sarah-Jane Mee, this year's ITV controller session at the Edinburgh TV Festival saw her speak to ITV's Kevin Lygo and ITV Digital's Paul Mortimer.


After a successful year across the ITV portfolio, they discussed the importance of the soaps, the future of I'm A Celebrity and of course Love Island.


Speaking about his stand out show of the year, Kevin Lygo picked out The Queen's Green Planet which saw David Attenborough come to ITV to spend time with the Queen. Whilst his personal favourite show of the last 12 months was The Real Full Monty which he described as "vulgarity with purpose" and "joyous and fun".


During a discussion abiout the effect Piers Morgan has had on Good Morning Britain, helping turn it into the show that it should be and needs to be, he admitted that Piers' standalone interview with Donald Trump "rated quite badly". He also rather shyly admitted that the highest rated show in daytime was The Jeremy Kyle Show but "no one likes to talk about it".


He went on to discuss the soaps and described Coronation Street and Emmerdale as "the most important things on the channel" and revealed how 80% of people who watch Emmerdale are from the north whilst Corrie is far broader.


Moving on to drama, Lygo admitted that "if it gets 2.5m viewers, that's not good enough". We then watched a series of clips from Sheridan Smith's upcoming drama Cleaning Up which looked very promising indeed.


The six-part series sees her play an ordinary working class mum caught between two contrasting worlds, the everyday grind of suburban life and the high-risk game of insider trading.


He also addressed concerns around costume drama and reassured us that there is still a place for it on ITV.


With entertainment, he explained a desire to keep The X Factor going and described the show as "incredibly important" and told us how important it was to keep The X Factor fresh talking highly of Simon Cowell who's commitment to help them achieve this is admirable.


Speaking about the decision to keep Ant off our screens for at least a year, Kevin explained how it's the right thing to do and assures use that "Ant is doing really well" whilst confirming that Dec won't be presenting I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! alone. He will be joined by a co-host who has been agreed but he wasn't in a position to reveal who just yet. He did however joke that it was Piers Morgan.


Despite cancelling Benidorm which was still attracting huge numbers, Lygo admitted that ITV "doesn't have as much comedy as we’d like”.


Sarah-Jane then invited Paul Mortimer on stage to talk about ITV's digital portfolio, but primarily runaway success Love Island. There was assurance that the ITV2 hit won't be moving to the ITV main channel with Lygo admitting that he's never even asked for it. “It’s where it belongs and if it was on the main channel it would give some old ladies some heart attacks. And it wouldn’t do much better”he said.


Defending the questions surround body image diversity, Paul dismissed these criticisms as a result of the show getting more attention and the media looking for stories. He described the show as "aspirational" and ended with "We cast sexy people. We’re a sexy channel."


Looking ahead, Paul confirmed the return of Plebs and Timewasters and was excited about some new commissions including The Stand Up Sketch Show and a new comedy show based around hip hop and grime music which hasn't been announced yet but is due to air this autumn.


As for the future of Love Island's poorer sibling Survival of the Fittest, it looks as though that series hasn't survived past one run. "Survival of the Fittest will have to be re-tooled if it was to come back." explaining how they don't want a channel full of different versions of Love Island. They have the best format so want to focus on that.

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