ITV to air Royal Variety Performance until 2021

by Lisa McGarry

The Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund has today (Monday) granted ITV the broadcast and production rights for the Royal Variety Performance for the next ten years.

ITV1 will become the exclusive UK broadcaster of the Royal Variety Performance until 2021 and ITV Studios will produce coverage of the performance. ITV has a long and successful partnership with the EABF, with the winner of ITV1’s Britain’s Got Talent appearing annually at the Royal Variety Performance.

Laurie Mansfield, Honorary Life President of the EABF, said: “As we approach the hundredth performance of the Royal Variety Show, this agreement marks the beginning of a new era for the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund. We can look forward to the future with renewed confidence and financial security for the next ten years. It confirms the successful relationship that the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund has with ITV and of course Britain’s Got Talent.”

Elaine Bedell, ITV Director of Entertainment and Comedy said: “Almost a century on from its first appearance, the Royal Variety Performance remains one of the UK’s most popular entertainment events. I’m delighted that ITV1 will broadcast the show exclusively for the next ten years.”

Kevin Lygo, Managing Director, ITV Studios said: “It’s an honour for ITV Studios to produce coverage of one of the most prestigious television events of the year. We are thrilled to be part of the long tradition of celebrating the very best of the entertainment industry.”

The Royal Variety Performance, originally the Royal Command Performance, first took place in 1912 in front of His Majesty King George V. First broadcast on ITV, the production of the show was shared between the BBC and ITV from the 1960s, with the channels broadcasting the event on alternate years.

The two most recent performances, shown on ITV1 and BBC ONE, have attracted audiences of 8.8 million and 8.3 million viewers respectively. Under the new deal, ITV Studios will produce coverage of the show for ITV1, working closely with the EABF and ITV Controller of Entertainment, John Kaye Cooper.