The Guardian' launches sports series on Channel 4 this summer

MUMBAI: The Guardian, the national morning broadsheet has decided to move into the television arena.. Its first move in the direction being moving into branded TV with the launch of a sports series on Channel 4 later this summer.

Positioned as the perfect blend of debate and reviews, The Guardian Sports Show will now be broadcast on Saturday mornings ahead of Channel 4's coverage of The Ashes, for an initial run of six weeks starting in August.

The show will be hosted by Clive Anderson and will feature sporting commentators and celebrities discussing topical sporting issues in an irreverent way in front of a studio audience.

Produced by North One Television and the PHD subsidiary Drum Screen, and will be filmed at Channel 4's studios. Channel 4 and The Guardian will be co-funding the series.

Apparently, The Guardian was inspired to explore branded content post a presentation given by the BSkyB chief executive, James Murdoch, and the WPP chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, on the potential impact of personal video recorders on spot advertising.

The show has been described by Guradian officials as "a mixture of Have I Got News for You and a serious sports programme" according to various agency reports. The programme has been formulated to alter people's perceptions that The Times and The Daily Telegraph have superior sports sections to The Guardian.

The funding for the show is coming from the coffers of The Guardian's marketing budget as they believe branded content is a cost-effective way of targeting the audience.

The production company North One Television is a renowned name in sports programming. The company, which is now part of the former Granada chief executive Steve Morrison's All3Media, was formerly owned by Chrysalis. It produces ITV's Formula 1 coverage and has worked in football, rally and bowls programming.

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