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The channel in its current form came to be solely because of a major deal failure. In 2004, the British network ITV plc held talks with Disney and Nickelodeon about launching a joint venture channel for sharing and swapping children’s content. Yet companies failed to agree on the format and branding, so ITV backed away and launched their own kids’ channel instead.
CITV has its own dedicated flash games series, the most popular being ‘Harry the Hamster.’ The title rodent character completes quests of various types in the gaming trilogy with three separate storylines.
The peak viewership for the channel was achieved in 2013, when the series Danger Mouse was streamed in the celebratory content strand "Old Skool Weekend" to mark the 30th anniversary of the channel.
The initial format of the channel was launched in 1983 as a part-time programming strand in the afternoon for kids aged 6 to 12. The strand was first available on several channels of the ITV network.
While all channels in the ITV portfolio have HD versions and time-shift +1 simulcasts, CITV has neither of them, for the obvious reason of lack of the audience for these particular services.
CITV is the British free-to-air channel providing dedicated content for children in the time slot from 6 am to 9 pm. The content comes from the archives and from new acquisitions. There is a dedicated children’s programming block on weekends on ITV network aired under the same name.
The most popular shows of the channel are original content commissioned by and produced for CITV. They include such iconic titles as Sooty, Thunderbirds are Go, Horrid Henry, Oddbods, Mr.Bean cartoons, and some others.
In 2013, in line with the major ITV rebranding, CITV received a new logo designed in rich yellow colour. The logo was accompanied by new funny idents that did ‘burping, farting, and other mischievous things kids love.’
From time to time, the channel hosts Christmas charity appeals. In 2012, it was the live feature Text Santa, and in 2013, it was the mini-series Help for Hattitude.
In 2009, the channel launched the special strand of programmes for preschoolers titles Mini CITV. To present the content and brand the strand, the channel introduced the Minis, spacemen-like creatures that appeared between programmes, provided the programming schedules, etc.