The broadcaster will send out a tender document in the next week looking for "exciting" returnable scripted programme ideas for its afternoon schedules.
ITV is asking for proposals for a 30-minute consecutive weekday series – likely to be a soap or precinct drama – with a budget believed to be between £40,000 and £50,000 per hour.
ITV has not had an originally commissioned daytime drama series since it axed Crossroads from the schedules in 2003, but has always harboured hopes of bringing the genre back.
For those who don't know it, Doctors is a 30 minute drama set in a suburban medical centre. Each episode's A story features a new patient seen by one of the doctors. The B story tends to focus on one of the regular cast, developing ongoing serial elements, while the C story often offers some humour or contrast to the A story's themes. The show is notable for giving many new scribes their first TV broadcast credit in Britain. Doctors has acted as a stepping stone for numerous talents, helping them break in to the industry.
It's long struck me there's an obvious gap in the market for an equivalent to Doctors, set in a police station. Cops and docs are the two dominant professions in British workplace serials - witness the plethora of shows like Casualty, Holby City, The Bill. Alternatively, ITV might contemplate commissioning a low-cost legal drama, such as that 70s favourite Crown Court. [That's already been revived once before, but a good idea is still a good idea, isn't it?] Whatever wins the slot, it'll be interesting to see if ITV shows the same foresight as the BBC and uses the new show to groom potential writing talents...