Coronation Street to air hour-long episodes as ITV launches soap battle with EastEnders
Coronation Street is being extended to hour-long episodes as ITV launches a soap battle against EastEnders.
Corrie is set to air three times a week at 8pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while ITV's other soap opera Emmerdale will move to a primetime slot of 7.30pm.
The new schedule will put Corrie head-to-head with BBC rival soap EastEnders on Mondays and Fridays.
Read more: 'Coronation Street' preview: Sally plays detective over secretive Tim
ITV’s Managing Director of Media and Entertainment, Kevin Lygo said: "The nation’s two most popular continuing dramas, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, are fundamental to the success of ITV, and we know that, as with all dramas, viewers increasingly watch them whenever, and however they choose.
"The new scheduling means that viewers can watch them live on TV in one go in a continuous soap fix, as well as on ITV Hub where they are regularly in the most watched shows every month.”
Corrie and Emmerdale are currently the most popular UK soaps, averaging consolidated audiences of over 5 million viewers in 2021, including catch up viewing on ITV Hub.
John Whiston, ITV's Managing Director of Continuing Drama said: “With Coronation Street bursting at the seams with fantastic story and character, the new format gives the show a brilliant new canvas on which to shine.
"And Emmerdale will do what it does best in this new time slot where viewers can continue to enjoy the dramatic goings on in the Dales.”
Corrie currently airs two half hour episodes at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and one episode on Fridays. In recent years the Friday episodes have been both one-hour-long episodes, or split over two half-hour instalments.
Emmerdale currently airs six half-hour episodes a week at 7pm, and 8pm on Thursdays.
BBC's EastEnders has suffered flagging ratings over the past two years. Head of Drama Piers Wenger recently blamed the coronavirus pandemic - which has led to shorter episodes due to filming restrictions, as well as a variation in viewing schedules.
He told Digital Spy: "There are very obvious reasons why we've had to make shorter episodes.
“EastEnders has always been a BBC half hour, whereas Corrie and Emmerdale are commercial half hours and, therefore, shorter so they've been impacted slightly less by shooting with COVID protocols, but we are working to get back to (it)."
Read more: BBC drama boss says COVID protocols had impact on ‘EastEnders’ ratings
When COVID-19 forced the UK into lockdown in 2020 and filming was not able to continue, all the soaps were forced off air for a time, while filming protocols could be put in place.
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