Rather than acquire its own studio complex, Carlton hired space from London Weekend Television and took over from Thames at midnight on January 1 1993. Unlike Thames (which was both a production company and a broadcaster, and still continues to produce programmes), Carlton commissions programming from independent production companies.
In recent years changes in rules concerning media ownership have enabled Carlton to buy out many of the other ITV stations, including Central Independent Television, Westcountry and HTV as well as acquiring the rights to the archives of ATV and its subsidiary ITC Entertainment, as well as the Rank film archive.
Since 26 October 2002, Carlton Television (in common with all the other ITV companies except Scottish Television, Grampian Television and Ulster Television) has been known on air simply as ITV1 (London). The Carlton brand continues to be seen on production captions however. Since Carlton and London Weekend Television now use identical presentation and logos, the division between the London weekday and weekend franchises is now invisible.
The ITC archive is particularly lucrative since it includes such favourite shows as Thunderbirds, The Prisoner, The Saint and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (original version), and Carlton has released all of these programmes on video and DVD, as well as many Rank Organisation movies.
Rumours of a merger with Granada Television, which would effectively transform ITV into a single company, have been circulating for several years.