I borrowed this from the Guardian..
Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bong! News at Ten is back. Again

Is Sir Trev the only newsman worthy of our trust?

Copywrite - John Plunkett

I have got my diary out to check the date. Yes, it's 2007, and yes, Sir Trevor McDonald is about to return to ITV1 to present a resurrected News at Ten. No offence to Sir Trev, but isn't he a bit of an analogue bloke in a digital world?

You can see why ITV chairman Michael Grade might want to bring it back. News at Ten is one of the great TV brands (although it remains to be seen how much it has been damaged in its absence).

Ever since the 10pm bulletin was first axed back in 1999 - yes, it was that long ago - ITV has struggled to fill the slot. Remember Mr and Mrs with Julian Clary? Not many people do.

But a glance at the last few weeks' schedules suggests they are still having a problem, with the likes of Don't Call Me Stupid and Police, Camera, Action! padding out the 10pm slot.

These are probably not the sort of ratings winners ITV bosses had in mind when they axed it all those years ago, and the channel is regularly walloped in the ratings by Huw Edwards' 10pm news bulletin on BBC1.

News at Ten will also get beaten in the ratings, but at least it will free up the network to play some half-decent comedy, drama or documentaries in the 10.30pm slot. Providing they can find the commissions, of course.

But the bulletin's return will also bring with it all the scheduling issues that prompted the channel to axe it in the first place. What will happen to ITV1's successful 90-minute dramas such as Rebus and its season of Jane Austen adaptations?

A 30-minute break for the news at 10pm? Eugh. An 8.30pm start? Watershed issues. Move the 10pm bulletin? It's "News at when" all over again. And what about when the football - an increasing part of the ITV portfolio - runs over?

Still, as Channel Five's Chris Shaw noted on this website six months ago, bring back News at Ten would be "exactly the kind of loud, splashy statement Michael Grade would love to make. It would be confident, bullish, and underscore his determination to bring back the glory years of ITV."

It may also serve to shift attention, for a moment at least, from the devastating fallout from the Deloitte report into ITV's premium phone line abuse.

Now Grade has finally made the move, all he has to do is fit the rest of the ITV primetime schedule around it.

News at Ten's return also caps a triumphant return for the 68-year-old newsman, only two years after his "last ever" bulletin.

Is it me, or is there something faintly depressing about the fact that the nation - or at least, that part of it that watches ITV News - appears only to trust Sir Trevor to read the news. What's his secret? And why haven't any other newsreaders got it?

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