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C4 abandons plans to replace breakfast show RI:SE

LONDON - Channel 4 has abandoned plans to replace axed breakfast show 'RI:SE', which comes off air later this year, and will instead run a variety of shows in the morning slot.

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The axe finally fell on 'RI:SE' in September after months of speculation and following an unsuccessful attempt to relaunch the ailing show, which has slumped to around 100,000 viewers.

Speaking today, Channel 4 chief executive Mark Thompson said: "The expectation is that we will move from a single programme to a schedule, with different programmes from different audiences."

He added that Channel 4 was at its best when offering a variety of programmes. "Morning is when we should be experimenting and trying different programmes," he said.

Today's news came as confirmation to reports earlier that Channel 4 was considering falling back on its reality television show 'The Salon' and US acquisitions such as 'Friends' and 'Scrubs' to fill its problem breakfast slot.

The broadcaster has a little under two months until 'RI:SE', which replaced 'The Big Breakfast', finally comes off air on December 19.

It is thought that the new scheduling will attempt to recapture the youth market it won over so successful in the 90s when 'The Big Breakfast' was hosted by presenters Chris Evans and Gaby Roslin, and then Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said recently that 'The Salon' in the mornings was one of a number of options being considered internally. She said it was not holding talks with production companies.

Whether the line-up will include 'The Salon' is unclear, but Thompson did today hint at this when he said that a live element was likely to play a role in any future line-up.

"I believe mornings on Channel 4 should be entertaining, should feel contemporary and fresh, feel like they are of that morning. A live flavour is an important part of the mix," Thompson said.

'RI:SE' was initially launched last April as a tabloid entertainment news show, but failed to attract the 300,000 viewers 'The Big Breakfast' drew in its dying days.

A hurried replacement of presenters, which brought in 'Big Brother 3' winner Kate Lawler, still failed to impress viewers and Channel 4 suffered the ignominious fate of having its flagship morning show beaten in the ratings by animated children's show 'Noddy' on Five.

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