ITV confirms Coronavirus contingency plans


As the Coronavirus fall-out spreads across the broadcasting industry, ITV says it could broadcast News at Ten from a regional centre if it needed to.

The UK commercial broadcaster has laid out its contingency plans to deal with schedule changes and has confirmed that it will be reducing its soaps as filming is curtailed.


In a statement regarding ITV's news provision, Kevin Lygo, ITV Director of Television, said that if ITV couldn't broadcast News at Ten from London as it would normally do, it could do so from one of its regional centres.

ITV daytime output - which currently consists of eight hours of continuous live programming -  could evolve with guests appearing remotely via other studios, Skype or FaceTime.

A new weekly, Monday night show: Coronavirus Report, produced by ITV News will provide viewers with additional coverage.

Cancellations

The Voice UK’s live semi final and final, which were due on air on the 28th March and 4th April have been postponed and ITV says it's working to replace them in the schedule with some bespoke Voice specials. Final decisions regarding this year's Britain's Got Talent live shows are still pending.

The Voice UK knock-out show this Saturday was pre-recorded and will continue to be broadcast.

CITV

As children become confirmed to their homes, CITV will launch a new-look morning schedule from next week. The mornings will be full of popular animated series such as The Rubbish World of Dave Spud, Mr Magoo and Tom and Jerry. This will continue into the afternoons which will contain some of CITV's biggest shows such as Scooby Doo and Thunderbirds Are Go.

Soaps

ITV says it will making production changes, to ensure that episodes of both Coronation Street and Emmerdale will still be made. On the production front, fewer cast and crew will be involved.

From a scheduling point of view, ITV says it will reduce the planned 12 episodes a week to eight episodes a week from Monday 30 March. Emmerdale will air Monday to Friday at 7pm and Coronation Street Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30pm.

Production of BBC rival EastEnders has been halted, with the BBC only due to show two episodes a week.


Carolyn McCall, ITV's CEO, gave the following statement:
This week has seen an escalation in the impact of the coronavirus with the Government ramping up measures and recommendations that are having profound implications for people and organisations across the UK.
All businesses are being deeply affected and ITV is no exception, but as a Public Service Broadcaster we remain committed to doing everything we can to continue to provide news, drama, entertainment and factual programmes to our viewers to keep them informed about this crisis and to offer them an escape from it.
The health of our own people and those who work with us remains our priority and we will implement the latest official guidance. I would like to thank everybody for the extra efforts being made in every team across ITV. We are also working closely with our partners in the industry to keep our shows on air.
Whatever happens, we will continue to broadcast our six channels, which, between them, offer hundreds of hours of content every week for free and accessible to everyone in the UK.