The 1968 franchise round saw ABC lose both their weekend franchises. However, the ITA didn't want to lose ABC and suggested a merger with Rediffusion with ABC having a 51% share of ownership. Some in the industry looked on this as an "unhappy marriage" but out of it came one of the network's most popular franchises. Thames launched on Monday 30th July 1968 with their first show - live cricket!! Thames produced many fine shows across all genres. Thames had its controversies, be it the Sex Pistols or the attempted poaching of Dallas, but This Week's "Death on the Rock" will always be known as the moment they both stood up to the government, and the moment they were very likely to lose their franchise over. Thames lost their franchise and ceased broadcast on 31st December 1992. Since the loss of the franchise, Thames helped launch UK Gold. They continued to contribute shows to the BBC as well as ITV. The Thames name is owned by Fremantle who still use the Thames name and that of its sister company Euston Films on its productions.