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Five is a television channel that broadcasts in the United Kingdom.

In 1997, the channel's daytime line-up, that included the unsuccessful Espresso, was pulling in less than 100,000 viewers. Cheap American imports filled much of the channel's schedule, and early evenings were dominated by lifestyle, nature and cookery shows, before the main evening news at half eight presented by Kirsty Young; the informal presentation style was something the programme was praised for. These evening programmes were moulded round the 9'0 clock film, that went from big budget productions to cheaper, made-for-tv movies. Meanwhile Family Affairs was watched by just 500,000 people on average. Weeknight were originally filled with comedy shows such as Bring Me the Head of Light Entertainment, Tibs & Fibs, The Comedy Store, and We Know Where You Live.

In 1998 the channel began to show more risqué late-night programmes such as Compromising Situations and Hotline on Wednesday and Thursday nights respectively, along with the controversially explicit Sex and Shopping series that began in October 1998.

In 1999 there was a large increase in adult entertainment shown on the channel; programmes included: UK Raw, European Blue Review, Red Shoe Diaries and Love Street, and gave the channel a distinct reputation for being home to hours of pornography.

Only the adult entertainment, football matches, and films pulled channel 5's ratings up in its late-nineties days, nevertheless the then programming director Dawn Airey still stressed that the channel was about "more than just films, football and fucking!", though this quote is still often misquoted as a description of the channel's programming strategy rather than as a denial of that strategy.

As the broadcaster entered the 2000s, positive changes were made with pleasing results for the channel. The adult entertainment was scaled back, and reality shows such as Naked Jungle and The Mole proved popular. However other reality shows such as touch the truck and jailbreak were less successful. Some adult entertainment was still present, however combining the porn with football, or the latter with a film often helped to lift the channel's audience share greatly.

The channel secured the rights to Home and Away in 2000, that helped boost early evening viewing figures, and after the channel re-branded as "five" in a multi-million advertising campaign, Family Affairs was dropped on 30 December 2005. The defunct soap's low ratings freed up to £10 million for other programmes.

Since 2002, the broadcaster has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy, and now screens several of the highest-rating American dramas, including Grey's Anatomy (second run rights), all three CSI franchises, House, three of the Law & Order franchises, Shark and Prison Break (later lost to Sky1). The channel also poached talk-show host Trisha Goddard from ITV to shore up its daytime schedule[8] and Neighbours after a bidding war with other broadcasters. As a public service broadcaster, Five is required to show educational programmes, including some moderately successful documentaries, such as the Hidden Lives series. Documentaries on art, mainly presented by Tim Marlow, have also been well received. In 2005 Five acquired another public service fig leaf - the rights to the annual Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

Unfortunately for five, its audience share has recently been falling again, and the channel doesn't seem close to fulfiling its promise set on opening night, to attract six million viewers at any one time.

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