UTV defends axing of current affairs show

UTV Live Tonight will be dropped from next month
UTV Live Tonight will be dropped from next month

The management at television broadcaster UTV has said “the time is right” to shake-up its schedule of programmes, after it emerged that it is to axe one of its regular news shows.

UTV Live Tonight, which runs between 10.30pm and 11pm from Mondays through to Thursdays, will be dropped from the end of September.

The half-hour show is described by the broadcaster as “a mixture of news, current affairs and arts/business”.

Instead there will be a night-time news bulletin, lasting 11 minutes.

The broadcaster told the News Letter the decision to drop the show is part of its “exciting new programming plans”.

No changes are planned to the regular early evening news bulletin, which is called UTV Live and is screened from 6pm to 6.30pm from Mondays to Fridays.

Meanwhile a one-hour weekly current affairs show will begin being screened.

The news emerged in a report in the Belfast Telegraph.

Asked about the changes, a spokesperson for UTV said: “UTV Live Tonight will return on August 22 and run until the end of September, when it will be replaced with a new UTV Live news and weather bulletin after News at Ten every week night.

“A new one-hour political series View from Stormont, presented by Paul Clark, will be introduced on Monday nights in October further enhancing our current affairs offering for viewers.

“In addition UTV Life has returned in its usual slot but will move to a new peak-time slot in September.

“UTV Live Tonight has performed very well over the past seven years, but we believe the time is now right to refresh the schedule and look forward to announcing more details on our new programming for viewers in September.”

UTV said no jobs are affected as a result of the plans.

The sale of UTV’s TV wing to ITV was approved in February.

In June, the News Letter revealed that the make-up staff who help presenters and newscasters get ready for air were being cut.