Real Housewives are coming to the UK after ITV bought Leftfield Entertainment

ITV has taken a turn toward the trashier side of broadcasting, buying 80% of Leftfield Studios, which makes Real Housewives of New Jersey and Pawn Stars.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 14 May 2015

Is ITV trying to fill the ‘trash gap’ left when the Beeb decided to put BBC Three out of its misery? The broadcaster has just paid $360m (£212m) for Leftfield Entertainment, the studios which brings us such high-brow entertainment as Real Housewives of New Jersey and When Ghosts Attack. Also, Southern Fried Homicide. Classy. Lord Clark's Civilisation it ain't.

The acquisition (ITV’s biggest ever, after its disastrous £175m buyout of Friends Reunited in 2005) means its US division attains the rather dubious goal of being the largest independent unscripted producer in the US. Just in case that’s not enough for the company, it has the option to buy the whole of Leftfield, for the bargain price of $800m.

There were a few complaints in February when the special dividend ITV announced (up 11%) wasn’t seen as enough. But now the reasoning behind that is clear: it was saving its pocket money to spend on the broadcasting equivalent of a giant bag of sherbert lemons.

Investors seem happy enough: after an initial jump this morning, share price settled just over 1.2% higher than yesterday’s closing price.

‘The [Leftfield] team has combined creativity with strong production expertise,’ said ITV chief exec Adam Crozier in a statement. Well – creativity, or lashings of fake tan. Whatever you want to call it.

- ITV boss Adam Crozier: 'I'm a bit of a control freak'

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Has the cult of workplace wellbeing run its course?

Forget mindfulness apps and fresh fruit Fridays. If we really care about employee wellbeing, we...

Cybercriminals: A case study for decentralised organisations?

A study shows that stereotypes of organised criminals are wide of the mark.

Why your turnaround is failing

Be careful where you look for advice.

Crash course: How to find hidden talent

The best person for the role might be closer than you think.

What they don't tell you about flexible working

The realities of ditching the nine to five don't always live up to the hype....

The business case for compassion: Nando's, Cisco and Innocent Drinks

Consciously, systematically humane cultures reap enormous benefits, argues academic Amy Bradley.