Is a big shake-up in prospect for the BBC’s two main daytime news programmes?
The Times on 3rd June reported plans for a revamp of both Breakfast and the News at One.
It’s understood the idea could see Breakfast extended to 10am and the News at One run for an hour. The News at One would be presented from Salford.
The BBC has made no comment on the story.
It is not inevitable that the changes will go ahead.
Both programmes get the BBC’s biggest daytime ratings. Extending them would also mean more bespoke UK content on the News Channel. (The Nicky Campbell simulcast has proved controversial.)
What isn’t clear is how Breakfast would fill an extra hour.
Would it be more of the same? Or might the extra 45 minutes have its own character. Perhaps more regular features or lighter interviews?
Moving the News at One to Salford need not be an issue for viewers. Breakfast has proved that a national news programme need not be presented from London.
It makes little difference whether a politician is interviewed by someone in London or Salford if they are sitting in Millbank. Modern technology means packages can easily be retrieved from the server no matter where the programme is based.
But how would the extra time be filled?
Assuming that changes do happen there’d be implications for BBC One’s daytime schedule.
Morning Live at 9.15am has been successful so I’d be surprised if it was dropped. But clearly fewer programmes would need to be commissioned to cover the morning schedule.
Is this a stealth cut or a redistribution of resources?
There’d also need to be a change in afternoon commissioning.
Extending the two main news programmes carries attractions. It could be a cost-effective way to build on success.
But tinkering with successful programmes is always risky.
And while, as I have said, there is no reason why news programmes cannot come from Salford, it could mean difficult choices for some London staff. The process would need careful handling.
PICTURED: BBC Breakfast opening titles/BBC News at One studio shot featuring Ben Brown. COPYRIGHT: BBC.