ITV is today announcing changes to bolster the key programmes in its pre-9pm schedule - the evening national and international news, the most watched commercial news programme in the UK, and ITV’s soaps, the biggest continuing dramas on British television.
ITV is extending its commitment to national and international news and audiences across the UK with the announcement today that the evening news programme will be extended to an hour, with even more focus on reporting from outside of London feeding into the programme, to reflect the whole of the UK.
Also announced today, ITV’s soaps are to move into new schedule slots destined to build a strong block of continuing drama, with Coronation Street moving to hour-long episodes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8pm, and Emmerdale moving further into peak with a consistent 7.30pm slot.
The new hour-long weekday national and international news programme at 6.30pm will build on the success of the current 30 minute programme.
Presented by Mary Nightingale, the programme will offer the same high quality, accessible, and trusted journalism and will build on one of the key features of the current programme, strong on-the-ground reporting from outside of London, putting people at the heart of ITV’s coverage.
Announcing the changes, ITV’s Managing Director of Media and Entertainment, Kevin Lygo said: “As viewing habits rapidly change, live audiences to our national and international news programmes remain remarkably strong. Our evening news programme reached an impressive 35.6 million viewers in 2021. 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.
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 where they are regularly in the most watched shows every month.”
ITV is investing in the journalism that goes into the programme to deliver these changes. In what is the biggest expansion of jobs within ITV Network News in the past 20 years, 27 new journalists, producers and multi-skilled camera operators/video editors are being recruited to join the programme alongside ITV’s existing specialist editors and correspondents.