‘Bloodbath’ at Channel 4 after station axes and delays host of popular shows after running out of money to fund them – despite its boss being paid £1.2m a year
Channel 4 has axed or delayed some of its most popular shows after running out of money to fund them – despite its boss Alex Mahon earning £1.2 million last year.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that staff at the channel are calling it a ‘bloodbath’ as controversial cult late night show Naked Attraction, big-money celebrity flop Scared Of The Dark and groundbreaking medical documentary Rescue: Extreme Medics, based in Scotland, have all been canned.
The much publicised return of reality series Four Weddings has also been scrapped, though a team from an independent production company had been commissoned to make it.
Staff on fixed contracts to work on the programme were immediately laid off, with some now worrying about how they will pay their rent.
Friday night favourite The Last Leg, one of the channel’s most popular shows hosted by Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker, is set to have the length of its next series cut to save money.
Channel 4 has axed or delayed some of its most popular shows after running out of money to fund them – despite its boss Alex Mahon (pictured) earning £1.2 million last year
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that staff at the channel are calling it a ‘bloodbath’ as shows including big-money celebrity flop Scared Of The Dark (pictured) have all been canned
The 28th series is due to return this month for a nine-week run but production bosses have been told that the channel can only afford to have it on air for seven weeks.
Channel 4 has instructed lawyers to thrash out deals with heads of production companies to get out of contracts for shows which are worth millions of pounds, meaning it has been left with expensive legal bills and exit fees.
The crisis comes after Ms Mahon and her colleague Ian Katz fought off a Government plan to privatise it, with one of their arguments being that it funds independent production companies nationwide.
A source told The Mail on Sunday that the channel believes it is better to cut its losses. But staff blame Mr Katz for wasting money on expensive but little-watched shows such as reality series Rise And Fall, which is understood to have cost the channel £14 million – money which could not be justified because of its low ratings.
One insider said: ‘Everyone is calling it a Channel 4 bloodbath.
‘At first everyone was in total shock when Four Weddings was cancelled.
‘It’s almost unheard of that a show that is going really well is decommissioned, but as news started to spread, other shows were falling down too.
‘They were told that Ian Katz had been looking at the channel’s entire output, and they were sorry but it had to happen because there was no money.
‘The casting team were already in place to start on Naked Attraction and were all told they were no longer needed as they were not making another series.
‘They tried to lessen the blow to the show’s freelance crew by saying they hope to make another series in December, but that doesn’t help them now.’
Ms Mahon and Mr Katz announced last week that they have deferred taking bonuses worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and scrapped a planned pay rise, amid the crisis.
However, one Channel 4 employee said: ‘It’s only because they have had to.’
Controversial cult late-night show Naked Attraction, hosted by Anna Richardson, has also been canned
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