ITV and Channel 4 have scheduled extended weekend news bulletins to bring viewers the latest on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
ITV will run an extended breakfast news service going head-to-head with BBC Breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday. Its special ITV News programme will be on air from 7am on both days until 9:30am. Children’s programmes move to the CITV channel.
The channel is also broadcasting longer than usual news bulletins at other points through the weekend, including a schedule change on Saturday night to incorporate a longer news bulletin at 9:40pm.
Channel 4 will broadcast extended hour-long news bulletins on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s news hour starts at 6pm. On Sunday, Channel 4 News is on air from 4:45pm.
At the time of publication, the BBC hasn’t yet outlined plans to extend its news coverage at this stage, but programmes on BBC One and BBC Two are subject to last minute programme changes. The BBC News Channel and BBC World News will continue simulcasting their main news coverage through the weekend.
The move comes as ITV News boosts its overall news coverage ahead of the 7th March re-launch of the ITV Evening News as an hour long programme. It also comes as commercial broadcasters fight for news viewers, amidst new competitors in the market and a perception that BBC News is in a weaker position following budget cuts.
ITV’s extended coverage also coincides with the imminent commencement of discussions with Ofcom over its Channel 3 broadcast licences ahead of the expiry of the current licences at the end of 2024. The process will determine ITV’s ongoing obligations regarding news and other public service output.
Both ITV and Channel 4 news bulletins are produced by ITN.