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Creator / Thames Television

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"A Talent For Television."

Thames Television was a company broadcasting on the ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 at 7pm, until 11:59 PM on 31 December 1992.

Formed as a joint company, it merged the television interests of British Electric Traction (owners of Associated-Rediffusion, later renamed to Rediffusion London, owning 49%), and Associated British Picture Corporation (owners of ABC Weekend Television, owning 51%); this stemmed from the 1967 ITV franchise round, where the Independent Television Authority, for a variety of reasons, opted to keep both companies around in some form but award the London weekend contract to a promising new consortium, which would become Thames' rival, LWT. However, both companies — during their debut week, no less — were taken off the air thanks to striking union members; this spread across ITV and a temporary service broadcast nationally took to the air before the ITV companies settled the strike after four weeks.

Thames' pedigree, already impressive thanks to ABC and Rediffusion, grew over the years as they became a powerhouse in drama, comedy, variety and kids programming, alongside regional programming, then a big part of ITV; the company soon began exporting their product all over the world, including to the US and Australia. They formed Thames Video in the early 1980s to release their massive library of content on video. Perhaps the best-known Thames personality was that of Benny Hill, whose comedy show became a huge international success.

On 16 October 1991, Thames learned it had lost its London Weekday ITV franchise to Carlton Television, which would take over at midnight on 1 January 1993. It's a long and complicated story, and three other ITV franchises; TV-am (national breakfast), TVS (South and South East of England) & TSW (South West England), also lost their franchises. Thames went away with a bang with its last programme which was shown by every ITV region, except for TVS which instead broadcast their own goodbye programme.

But either way, after it lost its franchise, Thames reorganised itself and continued on as a production company for ITV (abit other franchisees presenting it on their behalf) and other broadcasters. Many claim that the real reason Thames was kicked out was because of their documentary "Death on the Rock" blowing back into a big scandal and getting Margaret Thatcher involved, who decided to deregulate the system to punish Thames {the major union issues Thames and ITV in general suffered from was another mark against them in her eyes}. Thames was soon purchased by Pearson Television in Mid-1993, becoming a subsidiary of them.

Two months before ceasing as a franchisee, Thames began operating a joint-venture cable/satellite network with BBC Enterprises called UK Gold, with Tele-Communications joining later on. The channel broadcast much of the Thames archives, and this was followed up with the launch of UK Living in 1993 with the same companies but replacing BBC Enterprises with Cox Communications. Flextech would go on to purchase Thames' and the other firms stakes in the networks by 1996, having 50% in the former with BBC Worldwide, and full control of the latter.

They attempted to get back into the broadcasting game by partnering with Moses Znaimer to create localized versions of Toronto's Citytv across the UK, but their bid failed; the license went to another consortium that wound up launching Channel 5 in 1997.

In 2000, Pearson plc sold Pearson Television off to CLT-UFA, who rebranded themselves as the RTL Group, with the content division portion, including Pearson Television, rebranding as Fremantle Media. Thames continued to operate as is, until 2003 when FremantleMedia merged them with Talkback Productions (acquired by Pearson in 2000) to form Talkback Thames, ceasing Thames as a standalone production company in 2006.

However, it was announced on 22 November 2011, that from 1 January 2012, the Thames brand was to be revived and Talkback Thames has now been split into four different labels; Boundless, Retort, Talkback and Thames within the newly created Fremantle Media UK production arm.