Former Something for the Weekend presenter Tim Lovejoy says Facebook and Twitter campaigns aimed at saving the BBC2 show helped convince Channel 4 bosses to pick up the format for their own series Sunday Brunch.
“I do think it helped a lot with us getting the commission,” Lovejoy told RadioTimes.com. “When execs are looking at [whether to commission a series] and it gets that reaction they think ‘well people obviously like this show, why don’t we pick up on it?’”
The news that BBC2’s Sunday morning show was to face the corporation’s axe prompted an outcry from fans of the “hangover TV” format, with a Save Something for the Weekend Facebook page gaining 20,000 fans, while Twitter users, including celebrity viewers, also expressed their support.
And while the reaction wasn’t enough to reverse the BBC’s decision, the partnership between Lovejoy and co-host Simon Rimmer has since moved to Channel 4 for Sunday Brunch, which occupies the same 10am slot as did Something for the Weekend.
The new series is made by the same production company as Something for the Weekend and comprises a similar blend of chat, cooking, celebrity guests and features, complete with the laid back dynamic between Lovejoy and Rimmer of which BBC2 viewers were so fond.
“It’s a nice idea that they came in and saved a partnership and a format that people were enjoying,” said Lovejoy.
“When I heard Channel 4 had come in for it, I couldn’t believe it. I started there researching and producing on The Big Breakfast and for me to go back there is just so exciting.”
Meanwhile, with BBC budgetary constraints likely to herald the end of original daytime programming on BBC2, along with other cuts, does Lovejoy think this could be the start of a pattern that sees other broadcasters snapping up axed BBC formats?
“If they’re popular, then why not? I think that’s what people are looking at,” he said. “When the BBC Trust are having to axe them because of budgets, if they are a popular show then obviously commercial channels can come and pick them up.”
And he believes social media campaigns could continue to play their part in commissioners’ decision-making.
“When Something for the Weekend was cancelled a couple of TV producers texted me to say ‘this is going to be really interesting – to see whether Twitter campaigns and Facebook campaigns actually have any power,’ and I think they do.”