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CITV (2006)

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  Summary  

CITV (short for Children's ITV or Children's Independent Television) is a British television channel from ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It broadcasts content from the CITV archive, as well as commissions and acquisitions. CITV itself is the programming block on the main ITV Network .

The CITV channel broadcasts from 06:00 to 18:00. The channel previously timeshared with ITV4 until 5 February 2008 when ITV4 expanded its broadcast hours to become a full 24 hour channel. As a consequence, it moved to the Mux space on Freeview originally held by ABC1, however this means that viewers in Wales are unable to receive the channel on Freeview but is still available near the border.

The CITV channel is an extension of the original afternoon children's programming block shown on the ITV channel. "Children's ITV" began in January 1983 and originally featured pre-recorded in-vision continuity links fronted by various presenters and characters from Children's ITV programmes. The strand was broadcast live from Central Independent Television's studios in Birmingham for the first time in 1987 and started to utilise regular staff presenters. The rebranded CITV reverted to out-of-vision continuity in February 1993, voiced live by Steven Ryde, who later became a producer when the strand reverted back to in-vision presentation in May 1998 and hired new presenters. In-vision continuity was phased out again in September 2004, signalling the end of CITV presentation from Birmingham after 17 years. At the start of 2007, CITV's weekday afternoon strand on the main ITV network was axed.

CITV airs on Saturday and Sunday mornings on the ITV network between 6am and 9:25am and as part of the ITV Breakfast timeslot occupied by Daybreak on weekdays. Currently, presentation is produced by ITV Granada in Manchester, with pre-recorded continuity links voiced by Tim Dann.

  Biography  

 1980s
Before being known as Children's ITV, the timeslot for children's programmes on the ITV Network was briefly branded as Watch IT!, which was presented live by the duty continuity announcer in each ITV region.

Co-ordinated by Central Independent Television, Children's ITV first went on air on 3 January 1983 and consisted of programmes with pre-recorded links in between, initially featuring a different presenter each month (usually from children's television – the cast of the Saturday morning show No. 73 presented during the summer of 1985 from a south coast beach, for example). Recorded links continued until 1987, when live in-vision presentation was introduced, echoing Children's BBC which had started two years earlier. The introduction of live continuity also saw the introduction of regular presenters for the strand – originally consisting of model Debbie Shore and Central continuity announcer Gary Terzza.

In 1989, the independent production company Stonewall Productions won the contract to produce Children's ITV presentation. Whereas Central had restricted links to the station's former in-vision presentation studio, Stonewall chose to present links from various areas of Central's headquarters at Broad Street in Birmingham and utilised a rotating team of presenters. Central won back the contract to produce the continuity links in April 1991, choosing to revert links back to a small in-vision studio and using one regular presenter, Tommy Boyd.

 1990s
In February 1993, in-vision presentation was dropped by the new controller of CITV, Dawn Airey, with Steven Ryde providing out-of-vision continuity links featuring a wide variety of animated characters. Later in 1993, the Children's ITV name was changed to CITV, having been used in some form or another since the previous year. However, the Children's wasn't removed from the logo until September 1996, the same month a Digital On-screen Graphic was introduced. Presentation for the service was moved in 1997 when Central moved into new, smaller studios at Gas Street in Birmingham.

This continued until Tuesday 26 May 1998, when a new in-vision service was introduced by the new controller of ITV children's output, Nigel Pickard. Steven Ryde became a producer with Stephen Mulhern and Danielle Nicholls becoming the new presentation team. A new logo was introduced (with traces of the 1991-1996 and 1996-1998 predecessors), and whenceforth the service was referred to as CiTV, until the 2006 rebrand. Initially broadcast from Studio B at Central's Gas Street studios, CITV started sharing studio space with the West Midlands edition of Central News in September 1999, allowing room for a large stylised set created by a company called Dorans Propmakers. The main studio for Central News West had previously been used for live music performances during CITV.

 2000s
After the turn of the millennium, the overall quality of CITV's output began to drop considerably - apparent budget cuts meant fewer shows were made, repeats were much more frequent, and many flagship programmes were axed. It did not help that in 2001, CITV's controller Janie Grace publicly criticised Carlton and Granada, then the main controlling forces in the network, for underinvestment in ITV's children's service. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Grace was removed from her post just as Nigel Pickard was named as ITV's new Director of Programmes. This decline has seemingly continued, thanks to perceived rising costs of original production (and the effects on advertising revenues following the ban by OFCOM on 'junk food' advertising within children's schedules), and increasing competition from CBBC and countless digital children's channels for new programmes .

On-screen, various changes to the presentation team saw no less than eight additions and replacements in the space of four years. By September 2004, ITV plc announced the closure of its presentation and transmission facilities in Birmingham, signalling the end of CITV continuity from ITV Central. Presentation was relocated to Granada in Manchester and all in-vision continuity was replaced by pre-recorded voice overs. In 2006, ITV launched its own dedicated children's digital channel under the name 'CITV', although there were initial plans for the channel to be launched in 2001.

CITV also started cross-promotion with GMTV for the Ragdoll Productions series, Boohbah. The CITV channel would later simulcast and soon take over the production of GMTV's content from 2006 onwards.

The original launch date of the channel was set for 11 February, but this was pushed back by four weeks as a result of problems "clearing the digital rights to children's programming" and "comprehensive" re-branding. Promos for the channel began on 20 February, including an online countdown clock, running to the channel's launch date.

As has become standard for Freeview channel launches, the channel was allocated an EPG number well before transmission started. Initially, a static 'coming soon' graphic was shown, followed by a preview video loop running from late February 2006 until the launch.

The channel launched on 11 March 2006 at 9:25am, replacing the ITV News Channel on Freeview, Homechoice and Telewest†. It also launched on Sky on 8 May 2006 and NTL† on the 6 June. Additionally, the channel simulcasts CITV Breakfast on weekdays between 06:00 and 09:25.

On 2 November 2009, the channel was relaunched, with a new logo and new branding to match ITV1 as part of ITV plc's corporate look. The channel's preschool strand was given a dramatic overhaul, and renamed Mini CITV. Mini CITV is hosted by a group of spacemen-like beings called the Minis, who oversee presentation items on the channel. The strand's logo is similar to the first 'C' in the current CBBC logo. With the exception of weekends and holidays, Mini CITV now takes up the majority of output on the channel.

NTL and Telewest are now both known as Virgin Media.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "CITV", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.