BBC Three to drop 7 O'Clock News bulletin

By Gavin Bradshaw

BBC Three has received approval from Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell
to drop the nightly 7 O’Clock News bulletin from 2 December. The hourly
60 Seconds bulletin will continue.

Confirmation of the revised schedule is due in mid-November. Jana
Bennett, director of BBC Television, said: “We have taken this
difficult decision because we know that the audience’s news needs are
being met in other ways.

“We will now work to maximise the
channel’s value for money for licence payers without diminishing the
channel’s existing public service programming obligations or
distinctiveness.”

Money released by the schedule change will be
reinvested in knowledge- building programming across the channel,
increasing Three’s minimum commitment from 45 to 50 hours a year.

A
BBC spokesman said the slot would probably be filled with factual
entertainment programmes such as Honey We’re Killing The Kids!,
Spendaholics and Who Rules The Roost?.

The decision follows
publication of the Barwise report last autumn, which recommended
discontinuing the bulletin to increase the channel’s impact and value
for money.

BBC Three controller Stuart Murphy said: “The 7
O’Clock News was created in an era of intense competition. It has
fought its corner with innovation and style and I genuinely regret that
the programme’s audience impact was not significant enough to justify
its existence.”

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