ITV To Challenge BBC With Integrated 6pm News Hour

ITV bosses are planning to shake-up their early evening news schedule as they look to challenge BBC’s dominance at the 6pm slot.

ITV1 currently runs its regional news at 6pm, followed half an hour later by ITV News, its national and international news. The Beeb cuts its cloth the other way and has dominated the 6pm – 7pm slot for many years.

Such a move would require regulatory approval from Ofcom so ITV are thought to be running a series of pilots before submitting their application officially.

Media Guardian has reported that Mike Jermey, ITV’s director of news and sport told staff: “One of the options we’re looking at it a potential integrated 6pm to 7pm ‘news hour’ – delivering international, national and regional news in one coherent programme.”

“We’ll be looking at the overall structure of the hour, including timings, durations and handovers. The pilot programmes will then be reviewed so that we can decide on the best way forward for ITV news.”

ITV has long held that as it stands its regional news service, which is provided as part of its public service broadcasting obligations, is not financially viable, which has lead some in the industry to raise concerns that the broadcaster will squeeze it into the last part of the 6pm news hour.