From 10 September the soap's Friday episode will be axed and the remaining weekday episodes will move from 13.30 to the new time of 14.05. ITV will now run networked programming either side of the soap including a live quiz from Granada, The Biggest Game in Town. Regional programmes will be shifted as a result with an hour of regional output shown from 14.00 on Fridays.
ITV controller of daytime Maureen Duffy claimed the move was designed to lift audience figures in the afternoon. 'While ITV daytime remains the first choice for viewers in the morning with Trisha and This Morning we need to grow our audience in the afternoons,' she said.
One Carlton insider said: 'This is about putting Crossroads in a better slot.' The source added that the move was temporary 'and it will probably last until Christmas'. Carlton will continue its production schedule of five episodes a week.
The move will be embarrassing for ITV director of channels David Liddiment who chose the revamped soap from a number of other brand-new propositions from leading drama producers.
Although ratings for the show have fallen short of expectations they have gradually increased over the past four months.