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Saturday, 24 June, 2000, 01:06 GMT 02:06 UK
Journalist attacks ITV 'porn'
News at Ten logo
ITC believes News at Ten had pulling power
ITN's former political editor has accused it of replacing News at Ten with "porn".

Michael Brunson said ITV won permission to take the flagship news bulletin off the air after promising a better, broader mix of programmes - instead it is showing cheap, tacky documentaries.

"I'm not saying this is on every night but if this is the sort of thing we gave up News At Ten for, I think it is a disgrace," he said in The Mirror on Saturday.



My problem is that I increasingly see programmes in that slot that are unworthy of a mainstream channel viewing

Michael Brunson
His attack comes just days after the Independent Television Commission ordered ITV to move its flagship Nightly News programme back to an earlier time or face sanctions.

Mr Brunson, 59, who retired in March, said: "My problem is that I increasingly see programmes in that slot that are unworthy of a mainstream channel viewing.

"It's not that I am a prude but that's how I regard the recent The Streakers. It was basically full of frontal nude shots interspersed with reminiscences from people who did it."

Viewing figures for ITV's main evening news programme have fallen by nearly 14% over the last year, following the scrapping of News at Ten in favour of an 2300 bulletin .

Row deepens

The TV watchdog wants ITV to bring its Nightly News to the earlier time of 2230 in order to serve the public better. But ITV says the ITC have no power to order them to change the time of their broadcast.

BBC media correspondent Nick Higham says that with an apparent deadlock between the two sides, the row may well end up in court.

In a statement ITV bosses said: they "regretted" the ITC's rejection of its proposals.

They added: "ITV is considering its position in the light of the ITC's statement and will respond in full in due course."

The ITC - which met on Thursday to discuss the performance of ITV - last month rejected ITV's proposals aimed at reversing the decline in audience figures.

A progress check by the ITC In April concluded ITV had "failed to deliver" on the key promises made when it was given the go-ahead to change.

The ITC has also criticised ITV over its regional programming, saying it needs to make it available for a wider audience.

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See also:

02 Mar 00 | UK Politics
MPs rap ITV over News At Ten
08 Mar 99 | Entertainment
ITV launches news at six-thirty
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