ITV is negotiating with Granada over the production of a fourth weekly episode of Coronation Street for autumn 1996.
No decision has been made on which night the new episode will run, but ITV sources believe Thursday and Saturday nights are the favourites.
A weekend slot for the programme would suit the programme’s maker, Granada, which owns London Weekend Television and faces stiff competition from the BBC’s Casualty and National Lottery Show on Saturday nights.
Another option mooted is moving the Monday episode to Sunday.
“The network is in negotiation about Coronation Street’s renewal and about a fourth episode,” says an ITV source. “If a fourth weekly episode is going to happen at all it will happen next autumn.”
ITV is launching its 1996 programme schedule to advertisers and agencies this week and it had hoped that an announcement on the long-running soap could be used to deflect worries about its declining audience share.
ITV is still negotiating with advertisers for a sponsor for the soap.
However, ITV is concentrating on announcements about its post-peak period and Monday evenings, where it will effectively cede the 8pm slot to the BBC by moving World in Action against Eastenders.
ITV has also secured agreement with broadcasters to make the 10.40pm slot a co-ordinated network programme.
This will help it compete better with BBC and Channel 4, which have eaten into ITV’s ratings after News at Ten. Regional programming commitments will be moved to the summer season where ratings are less crucial.