ITV is hoping that a late night current affairs show will succeed where the Nightly Show failed, RadioTimes.com can exclusively reveal.
The broadcaster is preparing to air a new strand provisionally called Late Night Live after the 10pm news this autumn.
Airing every weeknight for five weeks from the start of October, the show will focus on the news but with a more serious bent, it is understood.
“Think BBC’s This Week, but with an ITV twist,” said a source.
Presenting names are being kept a closely guarded secret but it is thought that Andrew Neil, who stepped down as the presenter of the BBC’s Sunday Politics last month, is a potential target.
Neil is said to be in the process of renegotiating his contract with the BBC where he presents Daily Politics and This Week. ITV declined to comment on the speculation.
The move appears to be part of an attempt by ITV controller of programmes Kevin Lygo to improve the channel’s late night performance, which led to the disastrous experiment with The Nightly Show earlier this year.
Airing over eight weeks in the 10pm news slot – which shunted the daily bulletin to later in the evening – the topical entertainment format was hosted by a range of performers including John Bishop, David Walliams and Gordon Ramsay but performed disastrously in the ratings.
Lygo told the Edinburgh Television Festival that The Nightly Show would not be returning to 10pm but said that he might still bring the show back in a later time slot, although he sounded highly doubtful: “Certainly, not at 10 o’clock. The challenge is can it work for us later, that sort of thing. I don’t know.”
He added: “Did it work? Not really.
“There’s a million reasons [why]. With hindsight, a different host every week made it very difficult for the production team.
“The theory was that if you build the show there would be these fun people you would slot in each week. What happened of course, on week four you’d have a new host who would come on and say ‘I’m not doing that’ and you’d have to reinvent the show.”
However, despite Lygo’s complaints, it is understood that Late Night Live is also considering the possibility of rotating hosts each week.
The move of the 10pm news met with stiff opposition from ITV’s news provider ITN who believed that the move demeaned the brand and gave the BBC’s 10pm bulletin a free run while failing to improve the ratings performance in the slot.
However ITN bosses will be pleased that the current plans mean that the 10pm news will remain where it is – for the moment.