ITV’s 9.25am start time to disappear?

One of the last legacies of the old ITV system could be set to disappear, according to reports. ITV is considering running Lorraine Kelly’s show until 10am and bringing forward the start of This Morning by half an hour.

This would mean the end of the legacy of the 9.25am handover – the point where the regional contractors legally and technically took control from the national breakfast station.

ITV is also looking at other options for replacing the gap in its schedules left by the end of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

The 9.25am junction will mean nothing to most viewers – unless, perhaps, they wonder why it’s the only significant point in the weekday schedule on ITV which does not hit a quarter-hour without an obvious reason.

Of course, every TV anorak knows the reason. Breakfast TV was a separate franchise – TV-am went off air at exactly 9.25am and the time was mandated by the IBA for a reason. Generally from 1972/3 onwards, regional ITV companies came on the air at 9.30am. The 9.30am start time was the normal start time for schools programmes and the most common start time on weekdays during the holidays in most regions.

The 9.25am point continued through the years – it was maintained in the 1991 franchise round and survived regular schedule changes.

And the reason then was clear. The breakfast hours were in the hands of a separate company selling advertising in competition with the regional ITV stations.

Eventually, ITV plc took full control of what was then GMTV but the advertising during these hours is still sold distinctly. Legally the national breakfast licence is separate to the regional licences but since 2010 there has been no obvious division on air in ITV plc regions between the breakfast hours and the rest of the day. However there is one big reason why the 9.25am point remains. It is the point when STV takes over in Central and Northern Scotland.

Realistically this won’t stop the schedule change though if ITV does decide to move Lorraine’s time.

However the split in the amount of advertising time in each portion of the 9am to 10am hour between the two companies will need to stay the same to ensure STV does not lose out.

It could be arranged in such a way that part 3 of Lorraine begins bang on 9.25am – potentially allowing STV to make a clean break, although this is unlikely to happen unless there were an exceptional event like, say, the Scottish elections.

Having said all that, there is the bizarre possibility of an ITV dog in the corner for part of Lorraine’s show and an STV dog for the rest.

Ultimately what matters here is how ITV feels its morning schedule can best evolve without Kyle. Rejigging established favourites could be the answer and less risky than trying something new.

But a tiny little bit of the network’s history will be gone.



PICTURED: recreation of Thames TV 1980s clock. SUPPLIED BY: 625 Andrew Wiseman's Television Room. COPYRIGHT: ITV plc.

Posted by Andrew Nairn

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