BBC3 comedy Russell’s Howard’s Good News is migrating to BBC2 – after eight series.
The show, in which the comedian comments on the week’s news with a mix of stand-up, sketches and special guests, has been a flagship of BBC3 ever since 2009.
The decision by new BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw to poach it for her channel comes as BBC3 faces an uncertain future.
The channel has been earmarked for a wholesale move online in the autumn of next year under plans put forward by the BBC director-general Tony Hall.
Hall’s strategy is yet to be approved by the BBC Trust but would slash BBC3’s budget by around £50m a year to a £30m annual spend on the online proposition, with all BBC3 content promised a BBC2 or BBC3 showing at some stage.
Series have migrated from BBC3 to other BBC channels in the past but have tended to do so earlier in their lives.
James Corden and Ruth Jones’s comedy Gavin and Stacey moved to BBC1 after two series, while Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ sketch show Little Britain, which started out on Radio 4, was transferred to BBC1 after two series on BBC3. Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, meanwhile, aired for one season on BBC3 before moving to BBC2 for series two and then BBC1 for two further runs.
However a BBC source insisted that the decision to make Russell Howard’s Good News a BBC2 show came before the decision, announced in March, to move BBC3 online. “It was more a feeling that he’s graduated to a terrestrial channel really,” added the source. “It’s a big popular show going to a channel with bigger audience potential.”
Mark Linsey, BBC controller of entertainment commissioning, said of the move of Russell Howard’s Good News: “Five years ago, BBC3 spotted Russell’s great talent, commissioned this brilliantly funny show, nurtured and cherished it and is now passing it on to BBC2 as a fully fledged hit.”
The new series will air on BBC2 later in the year.