September’s closure of the CITV channel will also see ITV1 losing children’s programmes, with a new weekend morning line-up.
- Last strand of children’s programmes on ITV1* on Sunday 27th August.
- The Channel 3 service had once been obligated to screen five hours of children’s programmes on the main channel each week.
- ITV2 will air a four hour block of children’s programmes seven days a week, starting Saturday 2nd September, the morning after CITV closes.
- ITVX Kids becomes the broadcaster’s main outlet for children’s programmes.
CITV closes on Friday 1st September and with it, a weekend morning simulcast of the channel on ITV1 that’s been running for 17 years.
In 2007, a year after the CITV channel launched, Ofcom allowed ITV to reduce the number of hours it had to dedicate to children’s programmes to just five hours per week. It’s since met those obligations by showing 2 1/2 hours of children’s programmes on weekend mornings before 08:30 These obligations have since been quietly dropped altogether, paving the way for ITV to clear children’s programmes off its main channel altogether.
The final regular children’s TV slot on ITV1 will end at just before 08:25 on Sunday 27th August. The move comes 40 years and eight months after children’s programmes on the channel – formerly a confederation of regional services – were first brought under the Children’s ITV brand.
ITV1 will screen Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh on Saturday and a rerun of Saturday Morning with James Martin on Sunday morning in place of CITV.
ITV2 Kids programmes
The morning after the closure of the CITV channel, ITV2 will take over with a four hour daily slot showcasing a selection of programmes from ITVX Kids.
From Saturday 2nd September, ITV2 will show children’s programmes between 05:00 and 09:00. The new children’s strand replaces teleshopping and re-runs of shows including World’s Funniest Videos and Love Bites.
Kids shows featured on the new breakfast time block include Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous and Scooby Doo.
Arguably, there should be little demand for the final segment of children’s programmes on weekdays, as the end time clashes with the start of the school day. From 09:00, ITV children’s shows for pre-school viewers starts over on ITVBe.
The changes to ITV’s children’s programmes follow a decline in the number of viewers tuning into traditional linear broadcasts.
ITV hopes to reach younger viewers through ITVX Kids, which officially launched earlier this summer with a rapidly growing library of on-demand programmes. ITVX is also currently running an ITVX Kids streaming channel, one of nearly 20 online-only channels offered on the service.
ITV first outlined the changes in favour of launching ITVX Kids in an announcement back in March, but the exact detail of how the changes would be implemented and how it would affect ITV1 have only been confirmed in the last few days.
*In Central and Northern Scotland, ITV1 is replaced by STV. However, thanks to a historical quirk in the way Channel 3 services are licensed by Ofcom, STV doesn’t technically broadcast between 06:00 and 09:25. Instead, the licence to broadcast during these hours is held by ITV Breakfast, a subsidiary of ITV itself. This means all remaining children’s programmes were shown during hours where ITV controls the entire Channel 3 network. ITV1 also broadcasts in Northern Ireland, but is labelled UTV on channel lists.