BBC Newsnight to be cut to 30 minutes

UK

The BBC’s current affairs programme Newsnight will be cut to 30 minutes and lose more than half its staff, the broadcaster has announced.

The long-running show will continue to run on weeknights on BBC Two, but more than 30 jobs will go – including reporters, producers and operational staff.

The decision means the show will be shortened by around 10 minutes compared to its current running time.

It comes a month after Kirsty Wark said she would step down as the show’s lead presenter after the next general election, following three decades with the programme.

Image:
Kirsty Wark is stepping down as Newsnight’s main presenter

Linear TV audiences have declined by 11% over the last five years, the BBC said in a statement, adding it will continue to invest in online and digital news in response.

The broadcaster also said the flat Licence Fee settlement, which means the price of the TV licence cannot be increased, despite high inflation, means it needs to make savings of £500m.

BBC news and current affairs chief executive Deborah Turness said: “Like many businesses, we are in a tough financial climate and as our audiences shift rapidly from TV to online news consumption, we need to make choices about where we allocate our resources.

“While TV and radio remain crucial to BBC News, we must invest in our digital platforms to ensure they are also the home of our very best journalism, and today’s package of measures will accelerate this transformation.”

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1:50

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While Newsnight sees its length cut, BBC News At One will now broadcast for an hour and relocate to Salford – the first national BBC news bulletin show to come from outside London.

Last month, it was reported Stewart Maclean, who edits Newsnight, announced he was leaving the show to take a role with BBC Africa, with various outlets citing an email he allegedly sent that apologised for “signalling my departure at a time of such instability”.

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2:26

‘BBC has reported on Israel well’

Last year, Emily Maitlis left the show, having presented it since 2006, and joined rival media group Global, to host a new daily podcast alongside former BBC colleagues Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall.

The BBC have made several cuts to its content over the last two years, in an effort to shift towards a digital-first policy.

In May 2022 it revealed CBBC and BBC Four would be moved to iPlayer only, as well as merging its news channels and making changes to local radio.

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