ITV unveils more news and ‘super soap slot’
ITV has unveiled a major shake-up in its evening schedule which will commit viewers to more news and what has been dubbed a “super soap slot”.
Producer ITN is hiring 27 journalists, camera operators and other staff to work on an hour-long news bulletin from 6.30pm which will include more output from beyond London.
This will be followed by soap drama Emmerdale airing at 7.30pm every weekday, before hour-long editions of Coronation Street on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Viewers in the Scottish STV licence areas will continue to see STV News at Six on weekdays followed by the new hour-long news programme.
On Thursdays, STV’s current affairs programme, Scotland Tonight, will move from its usual 7.30pm slot to 8.30pm.
Announcing the changes from March, ITV managing director of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo said: “We are very excited to be announcing this investment in what is an important public service strength of ITV – high-quality, impartial, trusted broadcast journalism – at a time when it could not be more important,” he added.
“The nation’s two most popular continuing dramas, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, are fundamental to the success of ITV, and we know that, as with all dramas, viewers increasingly watch them whenever, and however they choose. The new scheduling means that viewers can watch them live on TV in one go in a continuous soap fix, as well as on ITV Hub.”
The news bulletin will be presented by Mary Nightingale additional correspondents in Scotland, Wales and the north of England.
ITV’s director of news and current affairs, Michael Jermey said that the expansion of the programme is an “enormous vote of confidence in ITV News’ journalism.”
He said it was not going go be an analysis programme, but will cover more news items.