Media News: Heat set to sponsor ITV comedy awards

ITV has signed up Emap's Heat magazine to sponsor this month's British Comedy Awards.

The magazine replaces telecoms firm One.Tel, which had sponsored the awards for the past three years but decided not to renew this year, in favour of backing Channel 4's UK Music Hall of Fame programming season (Marketing, 26 October).

Heat will sponsor the main awards show, to be broadcast on ITV1 on Wednesday 14 December and hosted by Jonathan Ross, as well as ITV2's coverage of the after-show party.

ITV is hoping to maximise the appeal of the event, which is celebrating its 16th anniversary, with teaser shows on ITV2.

In the weeks prior to the ceremony the digital channel will run a series called Countdown to the British Comedy Awards 2005, showcasing the comedians who are in line for the top honours.

OMD Fuse and the ITV sales sponsorship and branded content team negotiated the deal. Quiet Storm will create sponsorship idents.

Last year the awards attracted 5.8m viewers. Highlights included the presentation of the One.Tel Peoples Award by marketing director Mike Holliday Williams, whom Ross ridiculed on stage.

Heat will be one of a number of commercial partners, including Emap stablemates FHM and Zoo, and The Sun. Consumers will be able to vote in some categories through the media partners.

ITV could not confirm whether any of Emap's senior management would present an award, as had been the case in One.Tel's deal.

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