‘News at Ten’ leads ITV1 revamp

Station attempts to fight back

The flagship web of ITV, Blighty’s biggest private terrestrial broadcaster, is bringing back iconic newscast “News at Ten” beginning Jan. 14 as part of a revamp to claw back viewers from rival channels.

The 30-minute newscast on ITV1, hosted by Trevor McDonald, was dropped eight years ago to free up space for movies; last year, ITV executive chairman Michael Grade described that decision as “a shocking mistake.”

The overhaul also will include more 60-minute homegrown drama weekdays at 9 p.m., big changes to the weekend skeds and greater investment in acquired shows for post-10:30 p.m. weekday slots.

Announcing the New Year’s overhaul on Wednesday, programming topper Simon Shaps said: “One of the principal ideas behind these changes is to make the weekends on ITV1 feel special.”

“We have always been the home of Saturday night entertainment and we want to broaden that out to make the whole weekend on ITV1 something to look forward to.”

Despite the impact of the Hollywood writers strike, ITV1 has earmarked U.S. skeins “Pushing Daisies” and “Dexter” for weekday 10:30 p.m. slots.

“These are the kind of shows that appeal to the younger, more upmarket audiences that we hope to attract after ‘News at Ten,’ “ Shaps added.

As part of the new weekend focus on comedy, entertainment and drama, the net has set quizzer “Duel,” the French format bought by ABC in the U.S., for Saturdays.

Seasoned soaps “Coronation Street” and “Emmerdale” are being dropped from Sunday nights to give ITV1 more flexibility and to free up slots for entertainment.