One for the girls: ITV to launch channel for young women

ITV is launching a new channel aimed at young women, with shows including The Only Way Is Essex.

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The broadcaster said the channel, called ITVBe, will feature "the best entertaining lifestyle and reality programming from the UK and the US".

The Only Way Is Essex, known to fans as Towie, was launched on ITV2 and has been a ratings winner for the channel.

It made stars of its cast, including Mark Wright and Amy Childs, and won a Bafta in 2011.

The new channel, which ITV says is "likely to appeal to a younger, female audience", will also show the The Real Housewives reality shows which follow the lives of women in different US cities.

ITV's director of television Peter Fincham said: "We identified an opportunity to develop what is currently part of the ITV2 schedule - reality and non-scripted shows, which are very popular with young women and housewives with kids - into a distinct channel proposition, aimed more squarely at that audience."

Last month, ITV announced it was launching a new pay channel dedicated to drama to move away from its reliance on traditional TV advertising.

The broadcaster, buoyed by the success of hit shows including Broadchurch and Downton Abbey, is setting up ITV Encore which will be available to Sky subscribers.

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