Bosses at ITV have revealed a major shakeup to its schedules as the coronavirus affects the production of its primetime programmes.
ITV’s chief has made a statement regarding the next steps for the broadcaster.
Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, said: “This week has seen an escalation in the impact of the coronavirus with the Government ramping up measures and recommendations that are having profound implications for people and organisations across the UK.
“All businesses are being deeply affected and ITV is no exception, but as a Public Service Broadcaster we remain committed to doing everything we can to continue to provide news, drama, entertainment and factual programmes to our viewers to keep them informed about this crisis and to offer them an escape from it.”
Popular soaps still set to air
ITV announced it will still air soap operas Coronation Street and Emmerdale, but with reduced cast and less on-site filming.
ITV is also going to reduce its usual 12 episodes a week to eight episodes a week from Monday, March 30.
Emmerdale will air Monday to Friday at 7pm and Coronation Street Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30pm.
Kevin Lygo, ITV Director of Television, explained the broadcasters next moves.
“With the spread of COVID-19 increasing, inevitably our ability to produce shows is being affected and shows will no longer be recorded with studio audiences,” he said.
“For example, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway will air this weekend without a live audience for the first time and we appreciate the huge efforts, across production, our on screen talent and commissioning, that have gone into making that happen.
“The Voice UK knockouts, which are pre-recorded, will continue to be broadcast this weekend and the Britain’s Got Talent audition shows are due to be broadcast in the next few weeks as planned.
The Voice semi-final to be postponed
Mr Lygo continued, “We have, however, taken the difficult decision to postpone until later this year The Voice UK’s live semi final and final, which were due on air on March 28 and April 4, and are working to replace them in the schedule with some bespoke Voice specials.
“We are also working with our production colleagues to see how we can make the BGT [Britain’s Got Talent] live shows work in an ever changing situation and we will update on this in due course.”