Advanced Television

Channel 4 refreshing Hollyoaks schedule

March 1, 2024

Channel 4 is switching up the schedule of its flagship soap, Hollyoaks, with a new episode strategy built around evolving viewing habits.

From September 2024, the new, data-led drop pattern will see the soap move from five new episodes per week to three on streaming, E4 and YouTube. Channel 4 says that research has “identified this as the optimum pattern to keep heartland audiences hooked and attract new ones in a highly saturated content market”. There will also be an hour-long weekly omnibus episode broadcast on Channel 4 and available to stream.

The move reflects how young audiences are already consuming Hollyoaks, with Channel 4 data showing that the most loyal soap fans watch an average of three episodes per week. The new strategy will enable the show to cut through more powerfully with fewer, higher impact episodes.

Alongside the episodic changes, Lime Pictures have appointed Hannah Cheers as Executive Producer to lead Hollyoaks’ evolution. Cheers has been interim showrunner since September 2023, overseeing standout, critically acclaimed storylines, as well as masterminding the return of iconic characters like Jacqui, Myra, Cleo and Theresa McQueen and Freddie Roscoe.

The new digital first streaming pattern for Hollyoaks, launched in September 2023, is also performing strongly with the show’s streaming views up +33 per cent since November 2023 on the four months prior.

The changes to the drop pattern of the show will have an impact on its production. Channel 4 will work alongside Lime Pictures to minimise these impacts where possible.

Ian Katz, Chief Content Officer said: “Hollyoaks is on sparkling creative form at the moment and these changes will ensure it remains compulsive viewing for a new generation of fans as viewing habits change. The show has always been at the forefront of innovation in all of its forms, including increasing and decreasing episode numbers in response to viewing habits. These changes are a decisive step forward, designed to reflect how audiences are watching. A tighter schedule promises a new era of more scale and impact. We are of course mindful of the impacts on the production team and will work closely with Lime Pictures to minimise these where possible.

“We are also delighted that the brilliant Hannah Cheers will be leading Hollyoaks into its fourth decade. Hannah is passionate, rigorous and has an outstanding track record of finding and developing talent. Hollyoaks has played a crucial role in nurturing talent for nearly thirty years, and we are excited to continue to develop new opportunities and nurture the stars of tomorrow. I would like to thank all the Hollyoaks cast and crew who have been involved in the programme since its inception,” added Katz.

Categories: Articles, Content

Tags: , , ,