ITV News editor in chief David Mannion said that the revival of News at Ten meant putting the focus firmly on the programme, which was last broadcast nine years ago.
‘After the demise of the News at Ten, de facto the 6.30 news became our flagship so we recalibrated our working day and resources to peak at 6.30 rather than 10 o’clock,’Mannion said. ‘Now we have to reverse that again because 10 o’clock will be our crescendo moment. Culturally, it’s a different way of ordering our day.”
The revival of the brand will mean a head-to-head battle with the BBC at 10pm with both sides working on exclusives for next week. Peter Horrocks, head of BBC newsrooms, has already said News at Ten’s return would not affect how the BBC Ten O’Clock news operates. ITV has not given any specific rating targets for the programme in the new slot. Mannion said that despite the inevitable comparsion with the BBC, the emphasis was on getting the product right in the long term.
‘We’re very aware we are going to be compared with the BBC next week and are working very hard. The BBC is a fantastic organisation but I am not too concerned what they are going to do. I’m really concerned about what we are going to do and just on night one but night one hunder and two and night one thousand and two. Consistency is what this about,” said Mannion.
‘If we are to persuade people to watch News at Ten instead of a very credible product on the BBC we have got to deliver what we think they want but we have to be consistent in that delivery.
‘If we are going to persuade people to make an appointment-to-view at 10 o’clock it is no good reheating [news]. there has got to be added value by stuff they havent seen before, exclusives, original journalism, a little bit more analysis and explanation, making sense of the day.”
Former News at Ten anchor Sir Trevor McDonald will return to ITV News for the first time since 2005. He will be joined by Julie Etchingham, who joins from Sky News. Mark Austin will stand in as co-anchor when McDonald is off and will also anchor on-location reports from the sites of big news events. Since News at Ten is only running Monday to Thursday, Austin will also host the Friday Late News at 11pm. He will continue to co-present the ITV Early Evening News.
The revival will be complemented by a web presence at itv.com/news which will include programme reports, daily previews from the presenters and behind-the-scenes blogging by ITV News correspondents on their stories.
News At Ten will open with a new title sequence, based on the “Big Ben” sequence of the late 1980s. The title sequence retains the famous theme tune as the titles zoom into earth, the UK and sweep across London along the Thames to end at Big Ben for the “bongs” to strike.