ITV news gets fixed 10.30pm slot

Mannion: ‘new schedule’

ITV’s late night news weekday bulletin will have a permanent slot at 10.30pm from next year, after the ITC agreed to the broadcaster’s request to reschedule in a bid to stabilise the programme.

It means a permanent slot and a move away from the current schedule – 10pm on at least three days a week, and at later times on the remaining evenings.

The rescheduling bid is also a tacit concession that the bulletin has lost in the head-to-head battle with BBC Ten O’Clock News, which moved into the 10pm slot in 2000 after ITV originally relinquished it for an 11pm broadcast.

According to ITV, the bulletin will be a half-hour programme combining national, international and regional news. The broadcaster has previously expressed plans to closer integrate its national and regional news output.

The early evening news will remain at 6.30pm. Steve Anderson, controller of ITV news and current affairs, said the decision to move would finally bring to an end “the scheduling uncertainties of the past”. ITV News editor David Mannion said the new schedule presented an exciting opportunity “to produce a new and reinvigorated programme”.

The decline in viewing figures for ITV’s late news bulletins is well documented, as viewers lost interest in the programme because of its oscillating schedule.

“We firmly believe that a fixed time slot five days a week will make the programme more competitive and more attractive to viewers,” Mannion said.

The date for rescheduling of the bulletin is yet to be confirmed.

By Wale Azeez

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