Thames Television, commonly simplified to just Thames, was a franchise holder for a region of the British ITV television network serving London and surrounding area on weekdays from 30 July 1968 until the night of 31 December 1992. It continued as an independent production company until 2003. Formed as a joint company, it merged the television interests of British Electric Traction (trading as Associated-Rediffusion) owning 49%, and Associated British Picture Corporation—soon taken over by EMI—owning 51%. It was both a broadcaster and a producer of television programmes, making shows both for the local region it covered and for networking nationally across the ITV regions. The British Film Institute describes Thames as having "served the capital and the network with a long-running, broad-based and extensive series of programmes, several of which either continue or are well-remembered today." Thames covered a broad spectrum of commercial public-service television, with a strong mix of drama, current affairs and comedy. After Thames was acquired by FremantleMedia it was merged with another Fremantle company, Talkback Productions, to form a new independent production company, Talkback Thames; consequently, Thames ceased to exist as a separate entity. However, on 1 January 2012, the Thames brand was revived and Talkback Thames has now been split into four different labels: Boundless, Retort, Talkback and Thames, within the newly created FremantleMedia UK production arm.