News at Ten will run from Monday to Thursday on the new schedule, with a later news bulletin airing on Fridays and at weekends as part of a "renewed focus on new comedy, entertainment and drama". Friday nights will feature a mixture of comedy and entertainment, starting with Al Murray's Happy Hour, and Saturday nights will focus on family drama such as Primeval.
The network's Sunday night lineup will be noticeably reshaped, with Coronation Street and Emmerdale's weekend episodes moving to Tuesday and Friday respectively, in an effort to focus the night on entertainment programming such as Dancing on Ice.
ITV director of television Simon Shaps explained: "One of the principal ideas behind these changes is to make the weekends on ITV1 feel special. We have always been the home of Saturday night entertainment and we want to broaden that out to make the whole weekend on ITV1 something to look forward to. This has meant a wholesale spring clean for Friday nights with new comedy, drama and feature films to get the weekend started, and a much fresher look to Sunday evenings with entertainment shaking up the historically drama-led schedule."
The return of news to the 10pm slot for most of the week has resulted in an emphasis on hour-long drama for the 9pm slot. Among the shows to be launched in the time period this month are interlinked comedy and soap Moving Wallpaper and Echo Beach, along with fictional Buckingham Palace drama The Palace and Amanda Redman's Honest.
Shaps explained: "The restructuring of the peak time schedule and the return of News at Ten means that we’ve got a great opportunity to recapture some lost ground at 9pm and we’ve responded to viewer feedback on Coronation Street and Emmerdale so that fans can catch up with their favourite soaps over fewer nights.
"The new shape allows greater freedom and flexibility to create new hits within the schedule. In all, these changes make for a more streamlined, user friendly schedule that plays to ITV1’s strengths as an entertainment powerhouse and the home of original drama."