UTV - Local ITV for Northern IrelandSome of the remaining none-ITVplc stations are planning on ditching the network ‘dross’ for more locally-made programming. ITV’s once entirely independent network still has four regional broadcast areas: Channel Television, UTV, STV North and STV South.

STVAs we reported recently in our ITV TV Weekly special STV – who operate two local ITV franchises – has been planning on dropping the low-quality, low-rating national fare dished up by ITVplc’s programming bosses. Now another regional ITV broadcaster, UTV, is following suit.

The reported plans will see peaktime schedules reworked by the local broadcasters to suit the tastes of their region. UTV suggest this move is needed because ITV has ‘lost its focus’.

UTV managing director Michael Wilson told Broadcast: “We all need and want ITV to do well, but I’m not even sure what ITV is anymore.”

Programmes previously in STV’s firing line include shows hosted by Piers Morgan and Al Murray. UTV adds Moving Wallpaper to the list, commenting that the programmes in most cases were “great shows that don’t rate.”

STV and UTV will opt out of the ITV Network in slots where they feel the current programming simply doesn’t work. The Scottish arm of ITV have suggested they have eight new series in production to fill their new-look schedule.

STV managing director Bobby Hain told Broadcast: “People need to hear their accents and see their locations. We need a good spread of programmes from across the UK. This is what ITV has always done well in the past.”

UTVHe went on to show concern that ITV is in danger of giving the audience programmes only made in London, devoid of regional drama.

UTV’s Michael Wilson said the network once again should be using the talents within the regions to produce quality programmes. Shows made by producers and crews who understand what the audience wants and to produced according to what they want to watch

“I get really fed up when I hear the consolidation argument put forward as the only argument. It isn’t,” he told broadcast. STV and UTV have bucked the trend, with a healthy profit and viewer-ship with their ITV output, suggesting the English regions of ITV have only “failed” because of inside sabotage, poor management and greed.

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