First Report: ATV News Today

Welcome to the first edition of ATV First Report the weekday morning round up of soap and television news stories from ATV News.

This is the first of a two-week trial experiment of bringing you the news of the day at set times – which means readers can log on knowing we’ll have something new for you to view.

10am is First Report, followed at Noon by ATV Lunchtime Headlines. The main reports are at 6pm with ATV Network Today – the in-depth TV and Media news round-up and at 6.30pm the ATV Soap Update.

Top Stories

Dad Death for Enders Womack. Samantha Womack – EastEnders’ Ronnie Mitchell – is reported to be distraught after the death of her father. The actress had previously had a difficult relationship with her sixty-year-old dad – who reportedly suffered from depression. In June he spoke to The Sun of his distress at being cut from wedding snaps of Samantha and her new husband Mark Womack when they appeared in a magazine. The Sun reports Mr Janus was found dead in his bathroom after hanging himself.

Katie Price Branded ‘A Slag’. You couldn’t make it up. Queen of the chavs and ITV2’s superstar – well they’re not fussy – Katie Price has been confronted in the classiest of places – a kebab shop. Price was left with red chili on her face as the, as yet unidentified, woman hurled abuse at the former model. Events escalated when the protester – made a protest sign on a napkin, which read “You are a slag.” The Daily Mail report that Price appeared to be unshaken by the incident, later pictured ready to enjoy her greasy meal. Public sympathy has fallen on the side of her ex-Peter Andre since they spit in May this year; and while her attempts at publicity have been deemed in poor taste – such as getting her boobs out for the boys and photographers on a beach – the nation pats Pete on the back and wishes him well.

STV Ditches More ITV programming. It was announced on Friday that the channel 3 broadcaster in Scotland, STV, is to ditch even more ‘ITV Studios’ output. STV owns two regional franchises on the network and they, along with Northern Ireland’s ITV station UTV, have had a long running row with ITVplc – owner of the regional networks in England and Wales on the channel 3 network – over the cost of programming. Drama Wuthering Heights is the latest to be dropped by STV.

UTV Continue to Invest locally. Following on from STV’s decision to ditch major ITV shows UTV is following suit. Michael Wilson, Managing Director UTV said: “UTV is committed to working with independent producers to bring innovative and popular programming to our audience.” It follows the announcement the broadcaster will be injecting more money into local productions including the popular Ultimate Ulster, one of the most watched programmes ever on UTV, has been re-commissioned for a second series by independent production company, Televisionary. Channel Television, the only other ITV company independent of ITVplc, continues to screen ITV Studios programming as scheduled by the London Network Centre.

BBC Boss Quits Job. The BBC’s Head of Audio and Music has decided to leave his role with the Media and Technology unit. James Cridland’s decision to quit the corporation is unknown however over the two years at the BBC he has been credited with bringing the BBC Radio Networks to the iplayer. Cridland previously worked for Virgin Radio before switching to the BBC in 2007.

Cooking up new comedy for BBC Two. A new sitcom starring Alan Davis as a “lackluster” famous chef has been commissioned by the BBC Two comedy department according to reports. Entitled ‘Whites’ the series has been written by Peep Show actor Matt King and follows the fortunes of a celebrity chef, who likes the fame – but can’t be bothered to do any work.

Sky Online or Offline? British Sky Broadcasting plans to axe up to seven of its company websites due to falling advertising revenue at The ditched websites include the money advice service, dating pages, careers, lifestyle and teen-aimed websites. While up to ten jobs may be lost in the new media division Sky aim to invest the money saved from the axed sites into their more successful online pages. Meanwhile last week ITVplc announced that had bucked the downturn and predicted the online presence of the broadcaster would make up to £30 million from its online advertising.