ITV bosses unveil new winter viewing schedule

ITV unveiled its plans yesterday (Tuesday) to bolster its Christmas and winter viewing schedule with drama, documentaries and sport and more peaktime programming after News at Ten.

Director of programmes David Liddiment, who was hired by chief executive Richard Eyre as part of a new management team determined to rejuvenate the network and stem audience decline, said full details would not be revealed until January. This marks the end of the period of 100 days, which Liddiment and Eyre asked for in September to put together a new programming strategy.

Liddiment says: “I have put more resources into Saturday night entertainment, increased the number of distinctive drama ‘events’ in the schedule and extended network programming after News at Ten.”

He says by extending the network’s peaktime, ITV will be able to draw younger audiences attracted to British Sky Broadcasting and Channel 4 and Channel 5 with US imports like Fitz, the US version of the popular Cracker drama.

Saturday nights will also feature a new Gladiators-style entertainment show called Ice Warriors; there will be more factual programming featuring fly-on-the-wall documentaries; and major sporting events such as FA Cup football matches, UEFA Champions League matches and a second season of Formula One motor racing.

Liddiment also unveiled highlights including two new costume dramas – Tess and Wuthering Heights – and special Christmas editions of Coronation Street and Emmerdale. There will also be two programmes about Diana, Princess of Wales.

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