BBC director general Greg Dyke and his board of governors stand accused of out and out commercialism over the decision to shift the news back an hour. But they could wheel
BBC director general Greg Dyke and his board of governors stand accused of out and out commercialism over the decision to shift the news back an hour. But they could wheel out a public service argument suggesting the BBC is plugging a gap by regularly filling the 22.00 news slot, abandoned by the opposition.

The bigger question for the government is whether viewers will understand the rationale for two News at Tens while ads for new TV technology scream at them about increased choice.

Meanwhile ITV is in the tricky position of scheduling up to a 23.00 bulletin at the same time as trying to decide how to schedule around news at 22.00 from January.

Both ITV director of programmes David Liddiment and BBC 1 controller Lorraine Heggessey - who has yet to take centre stage in the BBC's new scheduling announcements - know that scheduling is a complex business.

News isn't a ratings winner no matter what time it goes out and programme junctions need to be carefully managed. But whether Liddiment and Heggessey will both have to deal with a situation where the BBC's news finishes 15 minutes after ITV's isn't clear even now. Commentators on all sides of the industry agree it's not in the public interest to have both channels scheduling news at 22.00. As soon as the new BBC evening schedule is on air it deserves to be given a year - as ITV's was - before it's judged a success or failure. Long before that point someone somewhere will have to answer the question of whether ITV's news should move.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for the virtue of schedules themselves. While consumers get a handle on TiVo technology for the first time - following its commercial launch a week ago - we at Broadcast were reminded at the weekend of the pleasant surprises a well-planned schedule can hold. Segueing from TOTP2 early last Saturday evening BBC 2 aired an insightful documentary, The Irish Empire, ironically made by independent Cafe which is facing possible closure. We would all do well to remember the hundreds of talents behind such a programme, and its appearance at such a time in the line-up - and we shouldn't get too hysterical about the imminent demise of TV as we know it.