Could Saturday night be alright for the BRIT Awards?

Could Saturday night be alright for the BRIT Awards?

The traditional Thursday morning, industry-wide post-BRITs hangover and out-of-office combination could soon be a thing of the past. At least that’s the prospect floated by Jason Iley, Sony Music UK chairman/CEO and this year’s BRIT Awards chairman, who has told Music Week he’d like to see the annual bash occupy a Saturday night prime time spot on ITV.

Speaking exclusively to Music Week as part of this week’s Big Interview, Iley revealed that he would welcome a move to Saturday night after the success of this year’s BRITs launch show in a prime time spot.

Commenting on his hopes for the BRITs 2017 TV viewing figures, Iley said: “It will already sound like an excuse, but most shows’ viewing figures are down. It’s like when you sign an artist, you put all this hard work into releasing an album and then you hope and pray the general public buy as many copies as possible.

“Clearly, I hope that, when the show’s on, people think it’s good enough to watch. We managed to get nearly two million viewers for the launch show, which was considerably up on previous launch shows, obviously we had a prime time Saturday slot on ITV and that was thanks to [ITV head of comedy entertainment] Peter Davey listening to us. Ideally, I’d like this [main] show on a Saturday night.

“The conversation started about moving the main show to a Saturday night and I think I went on and on about it so much that they said, Let’s put the launch on the Saturday night! So maybe it’s a test for the future."

The Awards have been broadcast in a midweek slot by ITV since 1993. An average of 5.8 million people watched the 2016 show, but music-based shows such as The X Factor have regularly drawn larger audiences than that on Saturday nights for the channel.

“My primary hope is that artists and executives go to the show and creatively it’s brilliant, that the artists have a good night and we say, We produced a really good show," Iley added. "If, the next day, the figures are great, then hallelujah.”

Elsewhere, Iley addressed the challenge of running this year’s event alongside his day job at the helm of one of the world’s biggest music companies.

“Well, it’s a difficult job, because it’s not our day job,” he said. “And on top of it you do have to do your day job. There are moments where you think, This is just fantastic. And then there are other moments where it’s quite scary, because you’re involved in helping to organise the biggest musical show of the year and sometimes things are going really well, artists are being confirmed, and sometimes they’re not. Then you have the British industry staring in at you. Every single person has an opinion on the host, the design, the performances, the songs performed, the stage, the lighting, the director... everything! That can be challenging.”

You can read the Big Interview with Iley here and in the latest issue of Music Week, out now.

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