McDonald, 'News' back at 10 for ITV
EmptyLONDON -- ITV will return its flagship nightly news bulletin to 10 p.m. on Jan. 14 as part of a wider schedule shake-up that will allow it to air more one-hour dramas and soaps in primetime.
The move, which executive chairman Michael Grade backed when he took the top post a year ago, sees the broadcaster's iconic "News at Ten" return, complete with veteran anchor Trevor McDonald and its signature backdrop "bongs" from Big Ben.
The show was moved to 10:30 p.m. in 2002 but has not proved to be a success in the new time slot. Director of television Simon Shaps also backed the move, but has needed time to line up new hourlong series and dramas that will air in the 9 p.m. slot.
ITV has addressed the difficulty of airing feature films in the 9 p.m. slot -- where they previously had to be interrupted -- by making the decision to schedule movies on Friday nights, when the news bulletin, titled "The Late News," will play at 11 p.m.
McDonald, one of the U.K.'s best-loved TV faces and longtime presenter of "News at Ten" in the '80s and '90s, said he relishes the challenge of taking up the mantle once again.
"I am delighted to be back with the news in the 10 o'clock slot. I'm looking forward to the new program immensely and to the challenge of returning 'News at Ten' to its place in the nation's affections," he said.