Channel 4 hires Frank on strategic public-service brief

LONDON - Channel 4 has drafted in the PR agency behind Playboy TV and lads' weekly magazine Zoo as it bids to 'validate its existence' as a public-service broadcaster.

Frank PR has been appointed to provide "strategic PR consultancy" on how C4 can best promote itself as an 'innovative' broadcaster that is meeting its public-service remit, said Frank co-founder Graham Goodkind.

Frank's appointment - which follows a fresh wave of criticism over the quality of some of the channel's content - marks the first time C4 has retained a PR agency on such a remit.

C4 is keen to restore its reputation as a broadcaster of original and challenging programmes and Frank will provide C4 with PR advice that will help 'validate its existence' in the minds of opinion formers and the public, said Goodkind.

The latest, fifth series of reality TV show Big Brother included the UK version of the programme's first-ever sex and a spectacular brawl, during which broadcasting was stopped. However, it was a ratings triumph for C4.

Other C4 shows that have attracted flak in recent months include reality TV flop Shattered, which broadcast people trying to avoid falling asleep.

C4 executives are hoping new British comedy drama Green Wing, which launches next month, will bring positive coverage to the channel.

C4 head of press and publicity Matt Baker said he wanted Frank to help 'get people saying the right things about Channel 4'.

The channel's policy of using PR agencies to promote individual programmes remains unaffected by Frank's appointment. Frank begins work just weeks after the arrival of new CEO Andy Duncan.

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