Channel 5 has scrapped its hour-long breakfast show and introduced a news bulletin at 5.30pm, ditching its 6pm news to make way for its soap hour.
After the ITC refused Channel 5 permission to move its evening news to the non-peak slot of 5.30pm, it has resolved the problem by introducing two evening news bulletins, with the main bulletin at 7.30pm.
As part of the five-year deal, ITN’s News Channel will be broadcast on Channel 5 when the hour-long breakfast slot is dropped. Presenters Alison Bell and Rachel McTavish both previously worked on 5 News.
The reshuffle is aimed at allowing the channel to comply with its licensing requirement to air a news show in peak time, while making room for its soap hour, which will kick off at 6pm with Home and Away, followed by Family Affairs.
Dawn Airey, chief executive of Channel 5, was critical of the ITC’s decision to block the move to 5.30pm. "Traditionally there has been an audience for a bulletin at 5.30pm. We believe that this is the right time to show the news to a significant number of our viewers," she said.
Both evening editions of ITN’s 5 News will be presented by Charlie Stayt, who currently presents the 6pm programme.
Breakfast presenters Katie Ledger and Martin Popplewell are expected to take up new roles presenting the channel’s hourly news updates. Popplewell will present the weekday bulletins and Ledger will be on air at weekends.
Editor of 5 News, Gary Rogers, believes the 5.30pm news will attract more viewers outside London. He said the hours between the two bulletins were "crucial" in terms of news events. "Frequently news breaks within that time, for example the Prescott punch. The two bulletins mean that we will be more flexible and respond rapidly to breaking stories," he said.
By Julie Tomlin