It’s official: Channel 5 has given Neighbours a new timeslot.
Every weekday, new episodes of the Australian soap air at 1.45 p.m., with a rerun at 5.30 p.m.
We told you earlier this year that this was likely to change, since Channel 5 has appealed to Ofcom for authorisation to make substantial changes to its news output.
The broadcasting regulator has given Channel 5 permission to begin airing an additional hour-long news show at 5 p.m. on weekdays, effective today (September 24). Channel 5’s news is now shown in half-hour segments at 5 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.
Neighbours will relocate from 5.30pm to 6pm as part of Channel 5’s new hour-long news programme.
The switchover has yet to be given an official date, although it is likely to happen later this autumn.
A spokesman for Channel 5 told Digital Spy: “Channel 5’s news output is becoming an increasingly important element of the offering it offers for viewers as the channel’s viewership grows.
“Neighbours will move to Channel 5 in the evenings at 6pm, following Ofcom’s approval of Channel 5’s 5pm News Bulletin extension.
“The weekday 1.45pm programme will stay unaffected, so viewers will still be able to catch up on My5 and watch their favourite Neighbours twice a day.”
Since switching to Channel 5 in 2008, Neighbours had maintained its regular 5.30pm time slot. It had a similar 5.35pm position on BBC One for many years before that.
Channel 5 requested approval from Ofcom since it was obligated to broadcast at least one news programme during its mid-evening schedule. The 6.30 p.m. news show, on the other hand, will be cancelled.
“Following a consultation, we have granted a proposal from Channel 5 to alter the conditions of its licence pertaining to its news supply,” Ofcom said in a statement today.
“After considering the many points of view expressed by stakeholders, we have determined that the adjustments will continue to satisfy the Communications Act 2003’s goals for news and current affairs programming.”
“Channel 5 sought this modification so that it could begin broadcasting a fresh one-hour newscast at 5 p.m. The licence condition adjustment will have no impact on the overall quantity of news that Channel 5 is obligated to transmit each year.”