Entertainment & Arts

ITV to launch new channel for young women

Lauren Pope and Mario Falcone in a scene from The Only Way is Essex Image copyright AFP
Image caption Lauren Pope and Mario Falcone form part of the Towie cast

ITV is launch a new free-to-air channel aimed at a young female audience.

Described as "a female-skewing channel focusing on entertainment and reality", ITVBe will screen The Only Way is Essex and the Real Housewives reality series.

According to ITV director of television Peter Fincham, "reality and non-scripted shows... are very popular with young women and housewives with kids".

ITVBe will launch later this year on Sky, Freeview, Virgin and other major platforms.

The announcement follows the news last month that ITV is to launch a pay-TV drama channel for Sky subscribers.

The Only Way is Essex - often abbreviated to Towie - has been a ratings winner for ITV2 and has made household names of cast members like Mark Wright, Amy Childs and Mario Falcone.

According to ITV, the new channel will "become the exclusive home" for the show, which charts the lives and loves of a group of representative denizens from the titular English county.

Adam Crozier, ITV's chief executive, said ITVBe would be "a terrific new addition" to the broadcaster's "family of channels" and marked "an important step forward".

ITV's other channels include ITV4, which aims to attract a predominantly male audience with its "cult" classics and sports coverage.

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