BBC Two staple Newsnight is set to be cut back and overhauled as part of the broadcaster's money-saving strategy.


The move comes in the wake of the two-year freeze to the price of TV licences, with the broadcaster also struggling with the effects of inflation.

BBC News and Current Affairs CEO Deborah Turness acknowledged that the corporation has had to make "difficult choices", telling BBC News: "When we started work on this announcement, I did not know if it would make financial sense to keep Newsnight on air.

"We, like many other news organisations, have streamlined our editorial teams to avoid duplication. It simply no longer makes sense to keep a bespoke reporting team dedicated to a single news programme with a small and declining audience, however good that programme is."

The programme will have a new, shorter format in the shape of a "30-minute late-night news-making debate, discussion and interview programme", Turness said.

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Newsnight's current team of 57 reporters will be more than halved, with only 23 remaining, according to BBC News.

Long-standing presenter Mark Urban took to social media to share his thoughts, saying: "The honour of presenting @BBCNewsnight falls to me tonight. I have worked on the programme for 32 years, around the world, risking my life many times for its journalism. You can well imagine my feelings at cuts to our staff and budget of more than 50%."

The BBC News at One TV bulletin has also been extended to an hour, while Newsnight's new format will draw on "top reporting talent and experts" from across BBC News.

The cuts are expected to save £7.5m, but will lead to a boost in budget for the broadcaster's online journalism output.

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The National Union of Journalists responded to the announcement, with broadcasting organiser Paul Siegert saying: "While we welcome investment in digital, we have grave concerns that the axe is falling disproportionately on investigatory news output.

"The proposals would, on the face of it, diminish a part of the BBC's output that has already been negatively impacted by previous rounds of cuts. The extension of BBC Breakfast and News at One would not provide an equivalent in-depth analytical and agenda-setting news product."

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