Clock chimes 'Ten' for ITV news

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LONDON -- ITV's nightly news show "News at Ten" is coming back after almost a decade's absence, returning Monday as part of a revamped primetime lineup and going head to head with the BBC's half-hour news bulletin for the first time.

Complete with its trademark visual sweep up the Thames to the Houses of Parliament and the chimes of Big Ben striking 10, the new show will be anchored by "News at Ten" veteran anchor Trevor McDonald, who has spent more than 30 years with ITV news.

The new bulletin is the centerpiece of a the new primetime schedule that has been over a year in the making, ITV director of television Simon Shaps said Thursday.

"We knew we couldn't change the news without changing the rest of the schedule, and I'm comfortable now that we have enough 9 p.m. dramas to support the news."

Since 1999, ITV's new bulletin has been a shifting affair, moving uneasily between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., until even ITV's own staffers dubbed it "News at When?"

Although the return to its old timeslot has a retro feel, ITV's director of news and sport Mark Sharman promised that the new lineup, which also includes presenters Julie Etchingham and Mark Austin, will "marry heritage values with the latest state of the art technology."

In practice, that means touch-screen gizmos that allow presenters to call up statistics and graphics and Web-based video blogs from news reporters around the world as stories develop.

"Moving the news around was quite disastrous and we are terribly aware that the BBC News is serious competition," said McDonald, the 68-year-old anchor who has brought British viewers such historic moments as the first interview with the newly released Nelson Mandela on British television.

"We don't just think we can walk in and reclaim this slot," he said. "But we are not in this to lose."

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