LONDON — A British TV institution will be thrown on the scrapheap Friday when ITV’s “News at Ten” makes its final broadcast after 32 years at the heart of the web’s primetime schedule.
ITV’s decision to replace its iconic 10 p.m. news show with bulletins at 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. has set off a domino effect among rival broadcasters, who have leapt to reschedule their own primetime news.
Sky News, with typical chutzpah, will launch its own “Sky News at Ten” on Monday, when ITV unveils its 6:30 show. Sky is spending £300,000 ($482,000) to market the move, while ITV is threatening legal action to prevent the feisty satcaster from using the phrase “News at Ten.”
Beginning of new era
Nick Pollard, head of Sky News, said, “For many people, the demise of ‘News at Ten’ may seem like the end of an era. For us, it is just the beginning, and this marketing campaign is a further indication of our commitment.”
Meanwhile, Channel 5 has won permission from the Independent Television Commission to move its 7 p.m. bulletin to 6 p.m. March 15. That will give it the jump on ITV’s 6:30 p.m. show, and will bring it head-to-head with the BBC, whose long-established 6 p.m. news will itself be relaunched March 10 with a new look.
Dawn Airey, Channel 5’s director of programs, said, “The move of ‘News at Ten’ and relaunch of Channel 4 News have made all broadcasters examine the scheduling of their news.”
Channel 4 revamped its hourlong 7 p.m. news show in January with a more informal look. That was in part a response to the innovative relaxed style of Channel 5’s much briefer news, in which the glamorous, young presenter Kirsty Young perched on the edge of a desk rather than sitting behind it.
Chris Shaw, Channel 5’s controller of news, said, “No one can doubt the impact and influence that 5 News has had since we launched nearly two years ago.”
ITV’s motive for scrapping “News at Ten” is to clear space after 9 p.m. to run blockbuster movies and two-hour dramas without having to break for the news after an hour. The first week of the new primetime schedule includes “GoldenEye” and Sylvester Stallone’s “The Specialist,” along with the durable Brit drama series “Kavanagh QC” and “Peak Practice.”