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ITV National and International Evening News to become an hour-long programme from March 2022

  • The UK’s most watched commercial national and international news programme to run 6.30pm - 7.30pm

  • Change will see the biggest expansion of jobs in ITV News in 20 years

  • Changes bring even more live, and out of London national news content to ITV’s daily schedules

  • New ‘super soap’ scheduling means live TV viewers of Coronation Street and Emmerdale can get their soap fix back to back

ITV has announced changes to bolster the key programmes in its pre-9pm schedule - the evening national and international news, the most watched commercial news programme in the UK, and ITV’s soaps, the biggest continuing dramas on British television.

ITV is extending its commitment to national and international news and audiences across the UK with the announcement today that the evening news programme will be extended to an hour, with even more focus on reporting from outside of London feeding into the programme, to reflect the whole of the UK.

Also announced, ITV’s soaps are to move into new schedule slots destined to build a strong block of continuing drama, with Coronation Street moving to hour-long episodes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8pm, and Emmerdale moving further into peak with a consistent 7.30pm slot.

As viewing habits rapidly change, live audiences to our national and international news programmes remain remarkably strong. 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. ITV’s Managing Director of Media and Entertainment, Kevin Lygo

ITV National and International News

The new hour-long weekday national and international news programme at 6.30pm will build on the success of the current 30 minute programme. Presented by Mary Nightingale, the programme will offer the same high quality, accessible, and trusted journalism and will build on one of the key features of the current programme, strong on-the-ground reporting from outside of London, putting people at the heart of ITV’s coverage.

ITV is investing in the journalism that goes into the programme to deliver these changes.  In what is the biggest expansion of jobs within ITV Network News in the past 20 years, 27 new journalists, producers and multi-skilled camera operators/video editors are being recruited to join the programme alongside ITV’s existing specialist editors and correspondents.

New appointments include correspondents being taken on in Wales, Scotland and the north of England to work towards the programme. As well as general correspondents, there will also be a new Social Affairs reporter based in the north of England.

ITV’s Evening News programme was watched by an average of 3.2 million viewers/ a 21% share of viewing in 2021, and the programme has posted its highest viewing shares for a decade, in 2020 and 2021.

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 ITV’s Director of News and Current Affairs, Michael Jermey

The programme will air directly after ITV nations and regional news, ITV News’ 30 minute programme made by teams across 18 different ITV regions.

Viewers in the Scottish STV licence areas will continue to see flagship new programme STV News at Six, Monday to Friday followed by the new hour-long news programme. On Thursdays, STV’s current affairs programme, Scotland Tonight, will move from its usual 7.30pm slot to 8.30pm.

Coronation Street and Emmerdale

ITV also announced today that ITV’s flagship continuing dramas are to move to new optimal time slots as ITV reconfigures its pre-9pm schedule.

Coronation Street, the nation’s biggest soap, is to move to three hour-long episodes, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm, and Emmerdale, which has a big year ahead celebrating its 50th birthday in 2022, will move to a 7.30pm slot.

Coronation Street and Emmerdale continue to be the nation’s most popular continuing dramas, averaging consolidated audiences of over 5 million viewers in 2021, including catch up viewing on ITV Hub.

Coronation Street has aired as both hour-long episodes, and two 30 minute episodes in recent years on Fridays, and audience data shows a clear preference for the hour-long episodes, which attract higher TV audiences.

With Coronation Street bursting at the seams with fantastic story and character, the new format gives the show a brilliant new canvas on which to shine. And Emmerdale will do what it does best in this new time slot where viewers can continue to enjoy the dramatic goings on in the Dales. ITV's Managing Director of Continuing Drama, John Whiston

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