ITV unveils plans for Britain’s Got Talent and Masked Singer live shows

Shiny-floor shows could make a comeback without a live studio audience

Britain's Got Talent judges (ITV/©Syco/Thames)

ITV has unveiled plans to restart filming live studio shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and The Masked Singer – without live audiences.

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Bosses say they want to return to a studio format – with ITV’s director of television claiming he has “had enough” of programmes put together with the help of video call services (such as Zoom).

Shooting in a studio for all ITV shows had to stop in March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at this year’s Edinburgh TV Festival (held online), ITV head of entertainment Katie Rawcliffe said: “This whole experience has brought out more creativity in people and the best in people.

“We all have to think a bit harder about how we do things… It looks like we will have to do some shows without audiences. It will be about re-adapting and reworking and making it work.

Explaining further how the new format could work, Rawcliffe said shows such as The Voice may have to “rely on the talent a bit harder, and the edits a bit more”.

The broadcaster pointed to an episode of Saturday Night Takeaway that aired without a studio audience before the nationwide lockdown was announced on 23rd March.

To keep broadcasting going during lockdown, TV talent such as Lorraine Kelly were given cameras to use at home, and shows such as Loose Women were aired with the help of video conferencing.

But Kevin Lygo, director of television at ITV, suggested during the festival chat that he is not a fan of the format.

“I’ve had enough, well done, good try, they are just not what entertainment really is,” he said.

“Audiences are very forgiving at the moment and gives you a lot of leeway but if it’s a big entertainment show, you want it to be a big entertainment show.”

The change means that the live shows of Britain’s Got Talent could go ahead as scheduled. ITV is currently airing auditions from this year’s show, filmed in January this year.

Rawcliffe said: “The live shows we are hoping to do later this year, we are still in stages of planning and are talking to the teams at Thames and Syco about what might be possible. We are very much in pre-production.”

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Britains’s Got Talent continues 8pm Saturday on ITV. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.