HomeSPOILERSWhy the BBC has an EastEnders dilemma after Coronation Street and Emmerdale...

Why the BBC has an EastEnders dilemma after Coronation Street and Emmerdale changes

Coronation Street and Emmerdale will both move to new permanent timeslots in March, causing Soapland’s biggest scheduling shake-up in years.

Every weeknight, Emmerdale will move to a later time slot of 7.30pm to make room for an extended hour-long ITV News, which will begin at 6.30pm.

Meanwhile, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8 p.m., hour-long episodes of Coronation Street will air.

The news has obvious implications for BBC One’s EastEnders, which usually airs at 7.30pm, 8pm, or 8.30pm, despite the fact that this is an ITV scheduling refresh. Keeping these timeslots would mean regular direct clashes with ITV rivals, which could hurt ratings.

When Digital Spy asked the Beeb about the changes this week, they declined to comment, so in the meantime, we’ve weighed some possible options for the schedulers to consider.

1. Do nothing… for now

ITV’s new evening schedule will begin in March, so Emmerdale and Coronation Street will be airing in their regular timeslots for only a few weeks longer.

All eyes are on the BBC now to see if it reacts by rescheduling its own shows to protect EastEnders and avoid clashes, but could the schedulers decide to hold fire and keep things as they are for the time being?

One school of thought holds that since no one knows whether ITV’s scheduling gambits will pay off, keeping an eye on the rival broadcaster’s ratings after the shake-up might be a better strategy than making drastic changes.

On the other hand, EastEnders has struggled in the ratings in recent years, something that BBC drama boss Piers Wenger even admitted last October. Is it really possible for the show to lose more viewers while the BBC figures things out?

2. Do nothing… for good

Another option is to be obstinate and keep EastEnders in its current timeslots indefinitely, regardless of ITV’s ratings, without even considering a change.

Some argue that EastEnders shouldn’t have to rearrange its schedule to accommodate a competing show, especially now that recordings and on-demand options are available to provide viewers with more options.

Such an approach, however, would be a departure from the BBC’s current cautious approach. While the BBC One schedulers rarely avoid Emmerdale clashes, they do move EastEnders to a later time slot on Fridays, at 8.30pm, to avoid direct competition with Coronation Street, which airs in a one-hour block from 7.30pm.

Failure to respond could enrage some fans, who already believe the BBC has ignored EastEnders in recent years by failing to address the reasons for the show’s ratings decline.

3. Move EastEnders to 7pm

ITV’s decision to move Emmerdale from 7pm is surprising, given how well the show has performed in that time slot over the years. In comparison to its rivals, which have more volatile figures, the rural soap often enjoys more consistency in the ratings. This can be attributed in part to the regular, straightforward early-evening time slot.

With ITV planning to broadcast news at 7 p.m., the BBC may be able to fill the gap and provide soap fans with their fix at this time. Could EastEnders air four nights a week at 7 p.m. in the future?

What are the drawbacks? A move like this would necessitate finding a new timeslot for The One Show, which could irritate some long-time EastEnders viewers who don’t get home until later in the evening.

After years of being thrown around the schedules at random times, many viewers believe that a regular, reliable 7pm timeslot could actually help EastEnders. After all, if it worked for Emmerdale, why shouldn’t it work for you?

4. Air EastEnders permanently at 7.30pm

If the BBC is unwilling to move The One Show from its current post-news slot, the next best option might be to give EastEnders a new permanent 7.30pm timeslot four nights a week.

This would mean always clashing with Emmerdale, but avoiding direct head-to-heads with Coronation Street, the country’s most-watched soap, in the 8pm hour.

A consistent timeslot throughout the week, similar to the 7pm option, could benefit the show and ensure that viewers always know when they can watch.

5. Fight back with hour-long episodes

ITV touted the decision to move Coronation Street to a permanent hour-long format in its big announcement earlier this week, claiming that its research showed that viewers prefer it.

If the BBC followed suit and broadcast EastEnders twice a week in an hour-long format, it could throw a wrench in ITV’s plans.

If an hour-long EastEnders premiered at 7.30 p.m., it could come back to bite Coronation Street at 8 p.m., if the Walford drama has a 30-minute head start over its rival.

6. Release the episodes early on iPlayer

Last year, EastEnders, Coronation Street, and Emmerdale all tried out early episodes for on-demand viewers.

Throughout Euro 2020 and the Olympics, EastEnders released a week’s worth of episodes every Monday, giving fans more control over when they watched while the usual linear schedules were thrown out of whack.

The BBC hailed this experiment as a success, but it caused controversy among fans, with some viewers complaining that weekly box sets removed the shared viewing experience and caused spoiler issues.

Increased competition from ITV could be the perfect excuse for the BBC to bring back the box sets on a more regular basis if EastEnders stays in its regular slots for the foreseeable future. The Beeb already sends viewers to the iPlayer for box sets and first looks with other shows, so early EastEnders airings could fit in nicely with the overall strategy.

Boosting EastEnders’ iPlayer numbers could also be a smart PR move, given the show’s linear ratings.

There’d be precedent for this – the BBC’s public relations department isn’t above combining streams from dozens, if not hundreds, of different EastEnders episodes to arrive at an impressive-sounding total. (In 2021, the show was streamed “285 million times,” according to one recent press release.)

7. Utilise BBC Three

In February, BBC Three will relaunch as a linear channel, and we already know it will feature an EastEnders presence, with catch-up episodes airing on weekends.

EastEnders was a reliable performer in the channel’s previous incarnation, with a repeat screening at 10pm (10.30pm in later years), which used to do particularly well if there were soap clashes earlier in the evening.

Could the nightly repeat screening make a surprise return in response to ITV’s antics, with a need to get more eyeballs on EastEnders?

Or could we even see the introduction of a “first look” episode for BBC Three viewers, following in the footsteps of E4’s existing strategy with Hollyoaks?

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Must Read

Coronation Street and Emmerdale will both move to new permanent timeslots in March, causing Soapland’s biggest scheduling shake-up in years.

Every weeknight, Emmerdale will move to a later time slot of 7.30pm to make room for an extended hour-long ITV News, which will begin at 6.30pm.

Meanwhile, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8 p.m., hour-long episodes of Coronation Street will air.

The news has obvious implications for BBC One’s EastEnders, which usually airs at 7.30pm, 8pm, or 8.30pm, despite the fact that this is an ITV scheduling refresh. Keeping these timeslots would mean regular direct clashes with ITV rivals, which could hurt ratings.

When Digital Spy asked the Beeb about the changes this week, they declined to comment, so in the meantime, we’ve weighed some possible options for the schedulers to consider.

1. Do nothing… for now

ITV’s new evening schedule will begin in March, so Emmerdale and Coronation Street will be airing in their regular timeslots for only a few weeks longer.

All eyes are on the BBC now to see if it reacts by rescheduling its own shows to protect EastEnders and avoid clashes, but could the schedulers decide to hold fire and keep things as they are for the time being?

One school of thought holds that since no one knows whether ITV’s scheduling gambits will pay off, keeping an eye on the rival broadcaster’s ratings after the shake-up might be a better strategy than making drastic changes.

On the other hand, EastEnders has struggled in the ratings in recent years, something that BBC drama boss Piers Wenger even admitted last October. Is it really possible for the show to lose more viewers while the BBC figures things out?

2. Do nothing… for good

Another option is to be obstinate and keep EastEnders in its current timeslots indefinitely, regardless of ITV’s ratings, without even considering a change.

Some argue that EastEnders shouldn’t have to rearrange its schedule to accommodate a competing show, especially now that recordings and on-demand options are available to provide viewers with more options.

Such an approach, however, would be a departure from the BBC’s current cautious approach. While the BBC One schedulers rarely avoid Emmerdale clashes, they do move EastEnders to a later time slot on Fridays, at 8.30pm, to avoid direct competition with Coronation Street, which airs in a one-hour block from 7.30pm.

Failure to respond could enrage some fans, who already believe the BBC has ignored EastEnders in recent years by failing to address the reasons for the show’s ratings decline.

3. Move EastEnders to 7pm

ITV’s decision to move Emmerdale from 7pm is surprising, given how well the show has performed in that time slot over the years. In comparison to its rivals, which have more volatile figures, the rural soap often enjoys more consistency in the ratings. This can be attributed in part to the regular, straightforward early-evening time slot.

With ITV planning to broadcast news at 7 p.m., the BBC may be able to fill the gap and provide soap fans with their fix at this time. Could EastEnders air four nights a week at 7 p.m. in the future?

What are the drawbacks? A move like this would necessitate finding a new timeslot for The One Show, which could irritate some long-time EastEnders viewers who don’t get home until later in the evening.

After years of being thrown around the schedules at random times, many viewers believe that a regular, reliable 7pm timeslot could actually help EastEnders. After all, if it worked for Emmerdale, why shouldn’t it work for you?

4. Air EastEnders permanently at 7.30pm

If the BBC is unwilling to move The One Show from its current post-news slot, the next best option might be to give EastEnders a new permanent 7.30pm timeslot four nights a week.

This would mean always clashing with Emmerdale, but avoiding direct head-to-heads with Coronation Street, the country’s most-watched soap, in the 8pm hour.

A consistent timeslot throughout the week, similar to the 7pm option, could benefit the show and ensure that viewers always know when they can watch.

5. Fight back with hour-long episodes

ITV touted the decision to move Coronation Street to a permanent hour-long format in its big announcement earlier this week, claiming that its research showed that viewers prefer it.

If the BBC followed suit and broadcast EastEnders twice a week in an hour-long format, it could throw a wrench in ITV’s plans.

If an hour-long EastEnders premiered at 7.30 p.m., it could come back to bite Coronation Street at 8 p.m., if the Walford drama has a 30-minute head start over its rival.

6. Release the episodes early on iPlayer

Last year, EastEnders, Coronation Street, and Emmerdale all tried out early episodes for on-demand viewers.

Throughout Euro 2020 and the Olympics, EastEnders released a week’s worth of episodes every Monday, giving fans more control over when they watched while the usual linear schedules were thrown out of whack.

The BBC hailed this experiment as a success, but it caused controversy among fans, with some viewers complaining that weekly box sets removed the shared viewing experience and caused spoiler issues.

Increased competition from ITV could be the perfect excuse for the BBC to bring back the box sets on a more regular basis if EastEnders stays in its regular slots for the foreseeable future. The Beeb already sends viewers to the iPlayer for box sets and first looks with other shows, so early EastEnders airings could fit in nicely with the overall strategy.

Boosting EastEnders’ iPlayer numbers could also be a smart PR move, given the show’s linear ratings.

There’d be precedent for this – the BBC’s public relations department isn’t above combining streams from dozens, if not hundreds, of different EastEnders episodes to arrive at an impressive-sounding total. (In 2021, the show was streamed “285 million times,” according to one recent press release.)

7. Utilise BBC Three

In February, BBC Three will relaunch as a linear channel, and we already know it will feature an EastEnders presence, with catch-up episodes airing on weekends.

EastEnders was a reliable performer in the channel’s previous incarnation, with a repeat screening at 10pm (10.30pm in later years), which used to do particularly well if there were soap clashes earlier in the evening.

Could the nightly repeat screening make a surprise return in response to ITV’s antics, with a need to get more eyeballs on EastEnders?

Or could we even see the introduction of a “first look” episode for BBC Three viewers, following in the footsteps of E4’s existing strategy with Hollyoaks?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

Coronation Street and Emmerdale will both move to new permanent timeslots in March, causing Soapland’s biggest scheduling shake-up in years.

Every weeknight, Emmerdale will move to a later time slot of 7.30pm to make room for an extended hour-long ITV News, which will begin at 6.30pm.

Meanwhile, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8 p.m., hour-long episodes of Coronation Street will air.

The news has obvious implications for BBC One’s EastEnders, which usually airs at 7.30pm, 8pm, or 8.30pm, despite the fact that this is an ITV scheduling refresh. Keeping these timeslots would mean regular direct clashes with ITV rivals, which could hurt ratings.

When Digital Spy asked the Beeb about the changes this week, they declined to comment, so in the meantime, we’ve weighed some possible options for the schedulers to consider.

1. Do nothing… for now

ITV’s new evening schedule will begin in March, so Emmerdale and Coronation Street will be airing in their regular timeslots for only a few weeks longer.

All eyes are on the BBC now to see if it reacts by rescheduling its own shows to protect EastEnders and avoid clashes, but could the schedulers decide to hold fire and keep things as they are for the time being?

One school of thought holds that since no one knows whether ITV’s scheduling gambits will pay off, keeping an eye on the rival broadcaster’s ratings after the shake-up might be a better strategy than making drastic changes.

On the other hand, EastEnders has struggled in the ratings in recent years, something that BBC drama boss Piers Wenger even admitted last October. Is it really possible for the show to lose more viewers while the BBC figures things out?

2. Do nothing… for good

Another option is to be obstinate and keep EastEnders in its current timeslots indefinitely, regardless of ITV’s ratings, without even considering a change.

Some argue that EastEnders shouldn’t have to rearrange its schedule to accommodate a competing show, especially now that recordings and on-demand options are available to provide viewers with more options.

Such an approach, however, would be a departure from the BBC’s current cautious approach. While the BBC One schedulers rarely avoid Emmerdale clashes, they do move EastEnders to a later time slot on Fridays, at 8.30pm, to avoid direct competition with Coronation Street, which airs in a one-hour block from 7.30pm.

Failure to respond could enrage some fans, who already believe the BBC has ignored EastEnders in recent years by failing to address the reasons for the show’s ratings decline.

3. Move EastEnders to 7pm

ITV’s decision to move Emmerdale from 7pm is surprising, given how well the show has performed in that time slot over the years. In comparison to its rivals, which have more volatile figures, the rural soap often enjoys more consistency in the ratings. This can be attributed in part to the regular, straightforward early-evening time slot.

With ITV planning to broadcast news at 7 p.m., the BBC may be able to fill the gap and provide soap fans with their fix at this time. Could EastEnders air four nights a week at 7 p.m. in the future?

What are the drawbacks? A move like this would necessitate finding a new timeslot for The One Show, which could irritate some long-time EastEnders viewers who don’t get home until later in the evening.

After years of being thrown around the schedules at random times, many viewers believe that a regular, reliable 7pm timeslot could actually help EastEnders. After all, if it worked for Emmerdale, why shouldn’t it work for you?

4. Air EastEnders permanently at 7.30pm

If the BBC is unwilling to move The One Show from its current post-news slot, the next best option might be to give EastEnders a new permanent 7.30pm timeslot four nights a week.

This would mean always clashing with Emmerdale, but avoiding direct head-to-heads with Coronation Street, the country’s most-watched soap, in the 8pm hour.

A consistent timeslot throughout the week, similar to the 7pm option, could benefit the show and ensure that viewers always know when they can watch.

5. Fight back with hour-long episodes

ITV touted the decision to move Coronation Street to a permanent hour-long format in its big announcement earlier this week, claiming that its research showed that viewers prefer it.

If the BBC followed suit and broadcast EastEnders twice a week in an hour-long format, it could throw a wrench in ITV’s plans.

If an hour-long EastEnders premiered at 7.30 p.m., it could come back to bite Coronation Street at 8 p.m., if the Walford drama has a 30-minute head start over its rival.

6. Release the episodes early on iPlayer

Last year, EastEnders, Coronation Street, and Emmerdale all tried out early episodes for on-demand viewers.

Throughout Euro 2020 and the Olympics, EastEnders released a week’s worth of episodes every Monday, giving fans more control over when they watched while the usual linear schedules were thrown out of whack.

The BBC hailed this experiment as a success, but it caused controversy among fans, with some viewers complaining that weekly box sets removed the shared viewing experience and caused spoiler issues.

Increased competition from ITV could be the perfect excuse for the BBC to bring back the box sets on a more regular basis if EastEnders stays in its regular slots for the foreseeable future. The Beeb already sends viewers to the iPlayer for box sets and first looks with other shows, so early EastEnders airings could fit in nicely with the overall strategy.

Boosting EastEnders’ iPlayer numbers could also be a smart PR move, given the show’s linear ratings.

There’d be precedent for this – the BBC’s public relations department isn’t above combining streams from dozens, if not hundreds, of different EastEnders episodes to arrive at an impressive-sounding total. (In 2021, the show was streamed “285 million times,” according to one recent press release.)

7. Utilise BBC Three

In February, BBC Three will relaunch as a linear channel, and we already know it will feature an EastEnders presence, with catch-up episodes airing on weekends.

EastEnders was a reliable performer in the channel’s previous incarnation, with a repeat screening at 10pm (10.30pm in later years), which used to do particularly well if there were soap clashes earlier in the evening.

Could the nightly repeat screening make a surprise return in response to ITV’s antics, with a need to get more eyeballs on EastEnders?

Or could we even see the introduction of a “first look” episode for BBC Three viewers, following in the footsteps of E4’s existing strategy with Hollyoaks?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

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