The World Cup is playing havoc with the schedules of the two main channels. So what’s new? Doesn’t this happen every four years anyway?
No. Normally the World Cup takes place at the height of summer amidst repeats and fillers. Instead it’s at the peak of the autumn TV season.
Episodes of regular series are being displaced to unfamiliar berths – even Strictly will have to find a new slot.
The only regular winter sporting events which dominate and disrupt the schedules are the Winter Olympics and, sometimes, the Commonwealth Games.
But these events are only shown by the BBC. Scheduling World Cup games poses dilemmas for both the BBC and ITV.
The unusual nature of this World Cup means there are occasions when matches are being shown simultaneously on both main BBC channels or on both ITV 1 and ITV 4.
The adaptations to the two main channels schedules say much about how seriously they take their commitments to news and their sense of priorities.
When BBC One has the 7pm game, the national and regional news generally runs in full but half an hour earlier than normal.
When BBC One has the afternoon game too, 15 minute national and regional bulletins are slotted in between the matches.
It is not ideal but when English regions and Scotland cannot opt on BBC Two, it is hard to think of an alternative.
ITV 1 however seems to consider the main evening news programmes to be dispensable.
There are nights when no national and regional bulletins run in the early evening.
Even on nights without football, the ITV Evening News seems to have returned to its old 30-minute duration so extended episodes of Emmerdale can run at 7pm.
It is not an easy circle to square. But it tends to reinforce the idea that the extended news introduced in March was simply opportune.
There is no suggestion that ITV will fail to meet its legal obligations. Ofcom would be quick to react if it didn’t.
But the news should be so much more than an obligation.
Meanwhile the BBC has shown its priorities by moving some episodes of EastEnders on to BBC Two again.
With the public caught up in the football, ITV soaps, Strictly and I’m a Celebrity, this scheduling makes the efforts of EE’s production team to restore It to its old level of popularity all the harder.
BBC News 2 – ITV 1 News 0.
ITV 1 Soaps 2 – BBC One Soap 0.
Strictly 3 – I’m a Celebrity 3.
PICTURED: ITV News and BBC News studios. COPYRIGHT: ITV plc and BBC.
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