ITV denies permanent move of late news slot is imminent

ITV has denied it has immediate plans to change the current transmission times of its evening news bulletin to a permanent 10.30pm slot. A spokeswoman said there were “ongoing discussions” but that a change from its current requirement to broadcast at 10pm at least three times a week was “not imminent”.

She added that any proposals to reschedule would have to be put forward to the Independent Television Commission, which the broadcaster has not done since it changed to the current scheduling.

“ITV can’t just shift its news bulletins without going to the regulator to state what it intends to do, even if it’s not the preferred decision to go head-to-head with BBC news,” she said.

She claimed remarks from Steve Anderson, ITV’s head of news and current affairs, in an interview with Royal Television Society in-house magazine Television “were given more clout than they should [have been]”.

He was quoted as saying that early 2004 was a “real possibility” for changing the news schedule. “Nigel Pickard [ITV’s director of programmes] has to decide where the news ends up, but 10.30pm seems to be the option that ITV favours. However, it’s subject to agreement with the ITC.”

ITV moved its early evening and News at Ten bulletins in March 1999.

By Wale Azeez

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