ITV bosses originally rejected a 'Britain's Got Talent' pilot.

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell's hit talent show has become a staple on the channel since its launch in 2007, but Lorraine Heggessey - who ran production company Talkback Thames when they came up with the premise - admitted the network took some convincing.

Speaking on the 'Media Masters' podcast, she said: "ITV turned it down and none of us could believe it.

"Even though Simon Cowell was one of their biggest stars, even he couldn't persuade them to take it."

However, ITV - who eventually decided to give the show a chance - struck lucky with 'Take Me Out' after both BBC Three and Channel 4 rejected the project.

The latter weren't convinced by lovable host Paddy McGuinness, who went on to host the Talkback Thames dating show from 2012 to 2019.

She added: "Channel 4 went, 'Well, we don't really see him as the host of an entertainment show.' "

Furthermore, Lorraine - who previously became the first female Controller of BBC One - has also opened up on the "huge gamble" she took launching 'Strictly Come Dancing' in 2004.

The celebrity Latin and ballroom competition has become a ratings success for the Beeb, but at the time other bosses weren't quite so keen on the idea.

She explained: "There was quite a lot of opposition and quite a lot of questioning of our decision [from other BBC bosses].

"The idea of putting ballroom dancing live on Saturday nights was not a no-brainer."

'Strictly' - which went on to become a global success with various 'Dancing With The Stars' editions in over 40 countries around the world - launched in 2004 and is still going strong.

Last year's series was won by former soap star Kelvin Fletcher and his pro dance partner Oti Mabuse.


tagged in