U.K. broadcaster ITV is making key changes to its pre-9pm schedule, including extending the evening news and putting its two biggest soaps, “Coronation Street” and “Emmerdale,” back to back.
Presented by Mary Nightingale (pictured above), ITV’s evening news programme is being extended from 30 minutes to an hour with plans to focus more on reporting outside of London, reflecting what is happening across the country rather than just its capital.
The broadcaster is also moving its two flagship soaps into new slots: “Coronation Street” will now get hour-long episodes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm, preceded by “Emmerdale,” which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, at 7.30pm.
“As viewing habits rapidly change, live audiences to our national and international news programmes remain remarkably strong,” said ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment, Kevin Lygo, in a statement.
“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.”
Michael Jermey, ITV’s director of news and current affairs, added: “The expansion of the network evening news programme and the investment in new roles is an enormous vote of confidence in ITV News’ journalism, which has continued to deliver strong exclusives and insightful reporting year after year, with 2022 so far being no exception.”
“ITV’s news on television and digital platforms informs millions of people every day. It sits alongside strong current affairs output such as the ‘Tonight’ programme, ‘Peston,’ ‘The Martin Lewis Money Show’ and the Bafta and Emmy award winning ‘Exposure’ strand. ITV’s impartial, independent journalism makes an enormous contribution to public service broadcasting in the UK.”