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May 25, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 11:21am

Sky News takes daily climate show out of primetime but invests in weekend editions

By Charlotte Tobitt

Sky News has taken its industry-first daily climate show out of the evening primetime as Ukraine and the cost of living crisis have become the biggest stories on the agenda.

The Daily Climate Show, hosted by Sky News presenter Anna Jones (pictured), launched in April 2021 ahead of the UN’s COP26 conference in Glasgow in November, for which Sky was a principal partner and media partner. Many media organisations launched new climate projects in the run-up to the event.

At first the 15-minute programme aired during the evening primetime at 6.30pm and 9.30pm before moving in the autumn to a half-hour slot at 8.30pm.

Jones has introduced the programme as the UK’s only daily climate news show “where we track the changes happening to our world, hear from the people being hit hardest by those changes, and report on the race for solutions”.

Starting on Monday 23 May, it has now shifted to a 15-minute 3.30pm weekday slot with a news focus, still hosted by Jones.

However a longer, more in-depth programme featuring more feature segments will be added on Saturdays and Sundays, in a timeslot yet to be decided, from 2 July – taking the show to TV screens on seven days a week for the first time.

BBC Countryfile correspondent Tom Heap, who also hosts the BBC podcast 39 Ways to Save the Planet, is joining Sky to lead the weekend programmes.

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Sky News climate show poaches Tom Heap

Tom Heap. Picture: Sky News

Sky said Heap “will put people at the heart of the journalism, hearing from individuals and communities and telling the stories of those impacted and adapting to the climate crisis”.

Press Gazette understands that the shift follows interest in the climate crisis story waning as Ukraine and the cost of living crisis have become the biggest stories on the agenda.

At the time of the show’s launch last year, Sky said the climate crisis had become “the single biggest global issue of our generation” but that it wanted to make the issues “more relevant to people and show the scale of the challenge – but also how far we have come”.

Guido Fawkes has repeatedly reported on low audience figures for the evening programme. In October the site noted that on one day, despite inheriting an average audience of 46,000 from The News Hour with Mark Austin, the climate show had around 25,000 viewers. The channel’s audience then jumped up to 47,000 again for Sky News Tonight With Dermot Murnaghan, according to BARB viewing figures.

Guido has also used BARB figures to show Sky News in third place among the news channels, behind BBC News and GB News, in the evening primetime figures.

Sky has often been ahead on the climate story. Although other UK media organisations had environment correspondents, the broadcaster was the first to appoint a climate change correspondent in 2019 as part of a dedicated editorial team.

Currently a weekly edition of the Daily Climate Show is published across all Sky News social pages including on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, while content from the daily show is carried across digital and social. Sky also produces a weekly Climate Cast podcast.

[Read more: Sky News exceeds 1m Tiktok followers with ten-fold increase in two months]

The 8.30pm slot put the Daily Climate Show up against ITV’s Tonight on Thursdays, Mark Steyn on GB News, Piers Morgan on the newly-launched TalkTV – where ratings are also struggling – as well as the BBC News Channel and a wealth of non-news primetime content.

Picture: Sky News screenshot

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