Regional talks conclude

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The ITV companies are expected to meet the Independent Television Commission to finalise plans for their regional output this week.

Talks have been going on for more than a year about cuts in the amount of regional output required by the regional franchises.

Eleven of the 16 companies are understood to be seeking to reduce their regional output. Among the proposals being considered is the axing of LWT and Carlton’s half-hour Sunday programmes. Changes to the news output are expected to include moving the late-night regional news from the 11.35pm slot it retained after ITV agreed to reinstate the News at Ten. But while the decision to reunite the national and regional bulletins will be welcomed in the newsrooms, the ITV companies are also understood to be pushing for shorter programmes.

Paul McLaughlin, national broadcasting organiser of the NUJ, said: "We are aware that there are discussions going on behind closed doors, and believe ITV companies should not be able to diminish their responsibilities without open consultation."

By Julie Tomlin

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