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Wednesday, 2 September, 1998, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Bong! Death knell sounds for News at Ten
"It's not goodnight from me." Trevor McDonald stays on
ITV's main daily news programme New At Ten may be moved to an earlier slot in the schedule.

The proposed new programme could go out at 6.30 in the evening, ITN has announced.

The changes to the flagship News at Ten format - which have to be approved by the Independent Television Commission - are designed to help ITV fight for viewers in the competitive news arena.

If accepted by the ITC, ITV's proposals would mean the end of News at Ten and the early evening news at 5.40pm.

ITV said its new schedule would include a new 6.30pm main news flagship, a new half-hour late news at 11.00pm and a 60-second live headline bulletin to accommodate major breaking news items later in the evening.

The proposals also included a plan to develop a 'News at Ten' for ITV2, ITV's new digital channel.

Trevor to stay on

One element of the old format that will not go in the radical new schedule is newscaster Trevor McDonald.

If the proposals go ahead he will present the peak-time news, having signed a long-term contract for the programme.

Mr McDonald, who has been the single anchor of News at Ten since 1992, said he was "delighted" to have signed the new deal and was looking forward to the "next exciting years" at ITN.

ITN Editor-in-Chief, Richard Tait, said: "Time and time again Trevor and the team that makes News at Ten have been recognised by the audience as bringing them an unbeatable formula of authoritative journalism with enormous popular appeal."

Going into battle

ITV's chief executive Richard Eyre said ITV's main evening news was being taken to "the real battleground for viewers".

He said the new schedule would have a richer content and was designed to increase ITV's audiences, particularly among younger and more up-market viewers.

Mr Eyre said ITV was having to breathe new life into the schedule, with new programmes and greater spending, in the face of growing competition.

"The shape of ITV's evening schedule has been the same for 30 years, but the broadcasting environment for which it was originally created has changed beyond recognition.

"The competition we face has grown dramatically and with the launch of digital transmission, it will grow further.

"There is a clear appetite for news that we intend to satisfy," he added.

Mr Eyre said ITV's shareholders, the ITV companies, had given their unanimous backing to the proposal.

Round-up

ITN's Chief Executive Stewart Purvis said they were "excited" by the prospect of a 6.30pm bulletin.

He said ITN understood ITV's reasons for wanting to change the evening schedules.

"We are, in particular, excited by the challenge of producing a full half-hour news programme in the early evening, which is when most viewers would now prefer their main news broadcast."

He added: "A new 30-minute programme at 11pm will enable ITN to offer viewers a comprehensive news round-up towards the end of the evening.

"Overall, the number of news minutes in the evening ITV schedule is increased.

"We are pleased that there are proposals for a News at Ten on ITV2 and believe it would prove a popular part of the new channel's evening schedules as its audience rapidly grows."

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC News
Richard Eyre: "There's a big appetite for news in the early evening"
BBC News
The BBC's Nick Higham explains why ITV is making the changes
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02 Sep 98 | Entertainment
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