ITV has unveiled a richer diet of comedy and a strong drama line-up
for the winter, as it gears up to make the most effective use of peak
viewing time without News at Ten.
News at Ten itself will be replaced by a 6.30pm bulletin fronted by
Trevor McDonald called The Evening News, and The Nightly News, an 11pm
programme presented by Dermot Murnaghan.
David Liddiment, ITV’s director of programmes, said the winter season
placed more emphasis on comedy and that major initiatives in news and
current affairs had been brought forward since the decision to move the
main evening news.
On the comedy front, Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey come together
again for a new series set in the 80s called Hunting Venus, and Robson
Green stars in a new bitter-sweet romantic comedy called Rhinoceros.
Nostalgia for the 70s is apparent with the That 70s Show from the
creators of Roseanne, and a return of The Grimleys.
Dave King, broadcast director of Carat, said: ’What is
interesting about the new schedule is that ITV is putting greater
emphasis on comedy. The acid test is whether Rhinoceros and Hunting
Venus will deliver the size and quality of audience we are looking
He added that the winter drama schedule, which has changed significantly
since ITV’s last announcement in September, looked equally strong, with
new series of Kavanagh QC and An Unsuitable Job for a Woman. New
productions planned include The Vice, set in the vice unit of the
Metropolitan police, a dramatisation of the struggle by the Lawrence
family to bring their son’s killers to justice, and a new film adapted
from Ruth Rendell’s novel, Lake or Darkness.
Movies include the terrestrial premiere of GoldenEye and The Bridges of
Madison County, while TV’s fascination with docu-soaps continues with
Cop Shop, which follows a group of police officers, and Trauma Team,
which covers the work of an on-site trauma service.
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