Well as reported earlier, Richard and Judy are switching channels from Channel 4 to a UKTV channel, but the latest is, that they are switching as from October! This from the Guardian, read on…
Three debut novelists will be hoping for a major sales boost after they were picked for a new series of Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan’s book club in its new home on cable television. Most of the British book trade will also be taking a keen interest in the sales figures, since the TV book club has previously had an enormous impact on book sales, but its future away from terrestrial TV remains uncertain.
Madeley and Finnigan’s chat show – renamed Richard & Judy’s New Position – is moving in October from Channel 4 to UKTV cable channel Watch, with sponsorship from the Daily Mail. As part of the move it is introducing a new strand to its hugely popular book club, which will highlight 12 debut writers over the course of the year.
The Richard & Judy New Writers Book Club will kick off in October with Hillary Jordan’s Mudbound, which details the lives of a family on a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta in 1946. November’s choice is The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama, which sees the retired Mr Ali open a marriage bureau in India. Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank – based on the love affair of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his client Mamah Borthwick Cheney – is December’s pick. As with the book club, which starts in January, the titles will be discussed on air by a pair of celebrities.
Jordan, Zama and Horan will be hoping to experience what the book trade has dubbed the Richard and Judy effect. Appearances on the Channel 4 show practically guaranteed a chart-topping performance from the book selected; and turned writers like Jodi Picoult from unknowns into household names.
But opinions are divided over whether the move to a digital channel – at its very best, UKTV pulls in 750,000 viewers, while Richard & Judy averaged 1.9m viewers this year on Channel 4 – will affect the duo’s pulling power. Bookshops, who have seen £159.2m pass through their tills thanks to R&J, were hopeful it would not. Janine Cook, Waterstone’s fiction buyer, said she believed the book club was “now such a well known and trusted brand that it can still be very successful, with great word of mouth and visibility of the titles in bookstores being just as important as the television show itself”.
But industry experts were more cautious. “UKTV has a much narrower audience than Channel 4 so it seems inevitable that Richard and Judy’s move will limit their on-air impact,” said Katherine Rushton at TV industry magazine Broadcast. “Having said that, the broadcaster has paid a lot of money to secure Richard and Judy so you can rest assured they will be marketing the hell out of the new series.”
So they’ve moved and there are changes already. Interesting changes…