ITV considered replacing half of National & Local evening news with gameshow

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ITV considered replacing half of National & Local evening news with gameshow

Post by GD on Tue 18 Jan 2011, 3:53 pm

Consultants hired by ITV's new chief executive, Adam Crozier, recommended cutting the broadcaster's early evening news bulletins in half and introducing a cheap gameshow to fill in the gap in the schedule.

McKinsey proposed that ITV1's national news bulletin which goes out at 6.30pm and lasts 30 minutes should be reduced to 15 minutes and run immediately after a shortened 15-minute regional bulletin.

ITV's programme-makers were asked if they could develop or buy a gameshow costing 30,000 an episode to fill the half-hour slot from 6.30pm the sort of budget traditionally used to fill daytime slots.


The consultants' scheme aimed at slashing ITV's early evening programming costs immediately prompted a row behind the scenes, triggering opposition from insiders at ITV and ITN, the broadcaster's news provider.

ITV's early evening news is its most successful news bulletin, regularly attracting about 4.5 million viewers and achieving an above-average 21% share of the audience. Insiders feared that the audience for a 15-minute bulletin could tumble while there was no guarantee that a gameshow would prove to be as popular.

Another option still under debate would see the 6pm hour of national and regional news combined in a form of the old BBC Nationwide, which has partly inspired BBC1's 7pm success The One Show.

It is not clear if either proposal will be taken up following the internal discussions, with one ITV source indicating that the plan to cut back the news bulletin appeared to be losing traction.

An ITV spokesman said it was considering a lot of proposals.

The McKinsey review was delivered to Crozier in November. However, decisions about what to do next have yet to be made, let alone announced, and are not expected until next month at the earliest.

The key issue for ITV remains the 60m-a-year cost of regional news rather than the national news service. ITV wishes to continue regional news but does not want to carry the financial burden. (from DS)


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