Louis Theroux and TV bosses to discuss media landscape at Edinburgh TV Festival

Louis Theroux and TV channel bosses are among the prominent figures from the media who will be taking to the stage at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

The annual event hosts a plethora of panel discussions, lectures and masterclasses which explore the most pressing issues facing the TV landscape including the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), power imbalances and representation.

Bosses from ITV, Channel 5, Netflix and Disney+ will share their thoughts on their outlet’s current standing on Wednesday, while veteran journalist Theroux will close the day as he delivers the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture.

Kicking off events at the festival held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre will be an opening debate titled: Who Holds The Power In TV?

It will explore topics including the freelance community, the impact of strikes, how broadcasters report the news, how on-air talent and names wield influence and how imbalances of power can be found throughout the industry.

Later in the day, ITV’s managing director Kevin Lygo and department heads will reflect on how the broadcaster has performed over the past year as well as looking forward to what viewers can expect in the coming months across the network.

It comes as ITV faces scrutiny after This Morning host Phillip Schofield left the show after admitting to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a younger male colleague on the programme.

His departure also sparked further allegations that the programme was fostering a bullying culture that had been described as toxic.

Jane Mulcahy KC is currently leading an external review of the facts after Schofield’s exit, which is expected to be completed in September.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee
ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall, managing director Kevin Lygo and company secretary Kyla Mullins (House of Commons/PA)

Elsewhere at the Netflix panel, commissioners Adam Hawkins, Kate Townsend, Mona Qureshi and Sam Crack will discuss what it is that makes a Netflix show standout while Liam Keelan and Sean Doyle from Disney’s EMEA commissioning team will provide an update on their upcoming slate of UK Originals and will share first looks at both scripted and unscripted releases.

The controller of Paramount-owned Channel 5, Ben Frow, will talk through how to get commissioned with the channel as well exploring how their ”greatest successes have been born from failures” during another session.

Other panels will explore why some shows are deemed more credible or award-worthy than others and how artificial intelligence could become more integrated into TV development, production and post-production.

During the revered James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, Theroux is to cover the challenges facing broadcasters in the multi-platform universe.

Organisers said his lecture will look at “the reasons for both fear and optimism in a world beset by populism, social media, AI, and virality in all its forms”.

He will also talk about how he has maintained longevity and relevance in broadcasting for more than 25 years.

The following days of the festival will see bosses from BBC, Channel 4, Sky and Amazon Prime Video among those reflecting on what their outlet has achieved over the past year and what they are working on.

TV presenter Claudia Winkleman, screenwriters Sally Wainwright and Jesse Armstrong and actress Meera Syal will also speak about their experiences in the industry.