channel5Richard Desmond’s Channel 5 has axed evening entertainment news programme OK! TV, after the broadcaster agreed to shift its news contract from Sky to ITN.
Today, ITN announced that it has won back the contract to produce Channel 5’s news programming on an initial three-year deal starting in early 2012.
The agreement, which followed a competitive tender process, involved 5 News returning to ITN where the programme launched in 1997 and was produced until 2005, when it shifted to Sky News.
It was made possible after Sky and Desmond’s Northern & Shell group, which manages Channel 5, reached a deal to terminate the 5 News contract ahead of the original date of December 2012. The new ITN contract will mark the end of OK! TV, which was introduced in February as a replacement for Live At Studio Five.

“OK! TV, our daily entertainment news show, has been in our early primetime slot since February,” said a Channel 5 spokesman. “Being part of our former arrangement with Sky News, OK! TV is set to come off air on December 16.”
Desmond intended the show to dovetail with his OK! magazine and deliver an early evening ratings boost for Channel 5 with entertainment news and celebrity interviews.
However, the show was hit by various problems, including initial host Denise Van Outen walking out just days before the first broadcast, and having to be hastily replaced by Kate Walsh.
Under its new deal, ITN will produce “distinctive” news programme throughout the day for Channel 5, using a bespoke state-of-the-art newsroom and studio at Channel 5’s London headquarters.
A new editor for 5 News will be announced shortly, following David Kermode’s announcement in September that he will be joining ITV’s struggling Daybreak programme.
“ITN broke new ground and changed the landscape of news broadcasting by launching 5 News back in 1997,” said John Hardie, the chief executive of ITN.

“We are delighted to be working with Channel 5 again and we see the evolution of its news service as a major pillar of our output.
“This significant contract win reinforces ITN’s important role in the UK’s media landscape and reiterates our position as the pre-eminent producer of commercial television news.”
Channel 5 director of programming Jeff Ford added: “Over the last six years, Sky News has provided a news service which has helped to place Channel 5 at the forefront of public service news distribution.
“As we enter our second year under new ownership and with recent boosts in ratings and overall audience share, we continue at pace as a competitive terrestrial broadcaster.
“Through this new deal with ITN, we have a partner which will help to take us into the next phase of our news distribution and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”

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By Expat