Following the recent acquisition of Five by publishing magnate Richard Desmond, it's being revamped on 14 February (reverting to its original name of Channel 5), and sister channel Fiver will also be rebranded on 7 March. It will now be known as 5* (Five Star) and they've acquired Warner Bros sitcoms like $#*! My Dad Says, Better With You and Parenthood to celebrate.
Five* will be promoting itself as a "fun-loving channel", and are hosting a competition for unsigned artists to write soundtracks for its on-air promos.
Jeff Ford, Channel 5 Director of Programmes:
"In a competitive marketplace, you need strong brands that jump out of the EPG, and the rebranding of Fiver as 5*, combined with exciting new shows, provides us with a distinctive channel."Channel 5 itself will replace its week-daily magazine show Live From Studio 5 with OK! TV, a celebrity gossip based series presented by Denise Van Outen and Matt Johnson (below). The show is allied to the OK! Magazine brand, which previously launched a short-lived television show on ITV in the late-'90s.
It's an interesting shakeup for Channel 5, which remains the least popular of the UK's five terrestrial channels since its launch in 1997. Five's always felt like a place for "cheap and tacky" homegrown shows and a smattering of US hits like the CSI franchise, so Richard Desmond seems to be embracing that. The birth of OK! TV shows he's after audiences who are into celebrity culture and all the superficiality that goes with it. Is it a good move to be turning Channel 5 into a TV tabloid, and will the symbiotic relationship the channel has with Desmond's press ventures help?
I wonder if Five USA will be rebranded soon, too. High Five?