The Nightly Show is now pulling in fewer viewers at 10pm than the News at Ten did

The entertainment show was meant to boost ratings in ITV's 10pm slot but audience numbers are now lower than they were for the news across the whole of January

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ITV’s new entertainment format The Nightly Show was introduced at the end of February with the aim of increasing the channel’s audience in the 10pm slot previously occupied by The News at Ten. Yet after barely more than two weeks, it is now pulling in fewer viewers than the news did at the same time in the previous month.

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The ailing satire show has averaged 1.7 million viewers per night between 27th February and 14th March, according to the latest set of data, falling below the 1.9 million viewers that the News at Ten averaged across the month of January before it was shunted to its later time of 10:30pm by The Nightly Show.

ITV’s director of programmes Kevin Lygo calculated that the likely upturn in audience numbers was worth opposition from some viewers as well as concern from ITV’s news supplier ITN, who resented having the news moved to a later slot.

But nearly three weeks in, the latest ratings figures are the clearest indication so far that The Nightly Show’s eight-week experiment has been a failure.

The programme is fronted by a new presenter each week, with David Walliams kicking things off, followed by John Bishop, and with Davina McCall currently in the hot seat.  Dermot O’Leary is due to take over next week.

All three have proved disappointing in their own ways, although the signs are that Davina McCall could be suffering the most.

Her audiences this week have slipped from 1.8 million for episode one to just 1 million on Tuesday (and significantly below that when ignoring ITV+1 numbers) and resurging slightly to 1.3 million on Wednesday night. 

Said an ITV source: “How can the company not be embarrassed when The Nightly Show is now doing worse than the News at Ten when it was taken off air – the whole point of The Nightly Show was to boost ratings with something populist and popular and it hasn’t even managed that.”

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An ITV spokesman declined to comment but did point out internal findings which suggested that The Nightly Show had seen an increase of 31% in the proportion of 16 to 34-year-olds watching ITV between 10pm and 10:30pm.