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Taylor Herring scoops Richard and Judy PR task for C4

LONDON - Channel 4 has handed PR agency Taylor Herring Communications the task of boosting the profile of its sagging afternoon magazine programme 'Richard and Judy', which has been losing viewers since it launched in November.

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The show, which airs on weekday afternoons, has failed to attract the kind of audience figures Channel 4 hoped for when it poached the couple from ITV in a sensational £2m two-year deal.

The 3m viewers the couple previously drew on ITV's 'This Morning' have failed to make the switchover to Channel 4. On a good day, the programme attracts around 1.9m viewers, but consistently loses out to BBC2's 'The Weakest Link'.

The axe is understood to be poised to fall on the show at the end of the current series this summer, if the show's ratings can not be boosted.

The agency has been hired to handle publicity for the show and the celebrity couple, although James Herring, joint founder of Taylor Herring, said the appointment was nothing to do with the fact that the show was in trouble.

He said: "You have got a 13-year ITV legacy shrouding Richard and Judy. It was a big thing for them to move into a new slot and a new channel and it will take time to bed."

"Channel 4 often gets an outside PR agency involved once a new strand is up and running," he added.

There have been reports that the couple have considered returning to ITV and the tried-and-tested ratings-winning 'This Morning' format.

However, Channel 4 does not appear to have given up on the show just yet and yesterday announced that it has appointed former 'Big Breakfast' editor Cillian de Buitlear to edit the show.

De Buitlear replaces Amanda Ross, who took over as editor of the show in March after Karen Smith, who followed the husband and wife team from ITV, unexpectedly quit when the show failed to live up to expectations.

De Buitlear is expected to introduce gradual changes to the show's format in an attempt to revive its fortunes after its audience slipped to as low as 1.3m last week.

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