UTV Live opening sequence
|Also known as||UTV Live Tonight
Good Morning Northern Ireland
|Country of origin||Northern Ireland|
|Executive producer(s)||Julie O'Connor|
|Location(s)||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Running time||30 minutes
|Production company(s)||UTV Live|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV 16:9)|
|Original release||4 January 1993– present|
Good Evening Ulster
|Related shows||Ireland Live
UTV Live airs seven days a week:
- 6.05am, 7.05am, 8.05am (Good Morning Northern Ireland, during Good Morning Britain; 2/3 min bulletins)
- 1.55pm (UTV News, after ITV Lunchtime News; 4 mins)
- 6pm (UTV Live, before ITV Evening News; 30 mins)
- 10.30pm (UTV Live Tonight, after ITV News at Ten; 30 mins, Monday-Thursday)
Between 1995 and January 2013, UTV Live bulletins were not transmitted during GMTV and Daybreak (ITV Breakfast); The breakfast service was previously produced by Reuters, ITN, and subsequently Macmillan Media, following a dispute in 1994 when UTV opted out of GMTV to provide extra coverage of the Combined Loyalist ceasefire.
Two bulletins of 10 minutes length are broadcast during the weekend: one on Saturdays, in the late afternoon, and one on Sundays, in the early evening.
The main evening edition of UTV Live airs from 18.00 to 18.30 every weeknight, covering the day's news, current affairs and sport from across Northern Ireland, with UTV Live Tonight airing from 22.30 to 23.00 on Monday to Thursday nights.
The 6pm and 10.30pm programmes are broadcast from Studio One at UTV's headquarters in Havelock House, Belfast with short bulletins broadcast from the continuity studio in the station's Central Technical Area. UTV also has studio facilities at Parliament Buildings, Stormont and news bureaux in Derry  and Dublin with an intention to open a further bureau in Omagh. The station also makes use of video journalists based in Coleraine, Enniskillen and Newry.
UTV Live was introduced in January 1993 as a new name for Ulster Television's existing news programmes; Six Tonight, the station's half-hour evening news magazine, and Ulster Newstime for shorter bulletins.
From 1993 until March 1999, the weekday evening programme ran for one hour at 18.00, and was usually referred to as UTV Live at Six, with other bulletins receiving subtitles such as Morning News. and Early Evening News
Following the introduction of the ITV Evening News on Monday 8 March 1999, the programme was brought forward by half an hour to start at 17.30. The first half-hour saw feature reports, light-hearted stories and the weather forecast branded as part of a separate programme, UTV Life, which ran before the evening news bulletin, which started at 6pm and kept the UTV Live name. UTV Live and UTV Life were merged into one hour-long programme, running from 5.30pm, in 2002 and were split into separate programmes again on 3 September 2007, with the original titles in use from 1999 to 2001.
For one week in February 2004, UTV moved the first half-hour part of UTV Live in the schedules from 5.30pm to 1pm, to accommodate the networked 24 Hour Quiz. Although UTV claimed the change in slot for the features section of UTV Live would run until April 2004, viewer complaints saw UTV Live returned to the 5.30pm slot one week later.
Mid-morning weekday and lunchtime weekend UTV Live bulletins were axed in February 2009 when the station was permitted to reduce their weekly news bulletin output from five hours, twenty minutes to four hours. A separate sports bulletin, Sport on Sunday, was broadcast following the Sunday evening bulletin from September 1999 to early 2007. This bulletin was separate from the Sunday evening news as it was sponsored by the Daily Mirror.
Between February 2007 and April 2009, only the main weekday evening programme was branded as UTV Live, while all other bulletins were branded as UTV News.
UTV Life, a separate live magazine programme concentrating on features and light-hearted stories, was broadcast at 5.30pm on weekdays. This programme had its own editor and presenting/reporting team.
UTV Life originally began on 8 March 1999 as a stand-alone programme with features reports, light-hearted stories and an extended weather forecast. The programme ran from 5.30pm, proceeding UTV Live at Six until the two programmes were integrated into an hour-long UTV Live programme on April 2002.
The UTV Life branding for the features section of UTV Live returned to on-air use on Monday 3 September 2007. The features element of the programme again became a separate programme to accommodate a programme sponsorship deal. The relaunch of UTV Life saw the programme gain a different theme tune, opening title sequence and graphic design, with a similar presenting, reporting and editorial team as the former features segment of UTV Live.
As part of cost-cutting measures and a reduction in regional programming at the station, UTV Life was axed shortly after the broadcasting regulator OFCOM gave UTV the go ahead to reduce its non-news output, with the final programme airing on 6 February 2009. A weekly replacement for UTV Life, The Seven Thirty Show, was introduced in June 2009.
On Monday 27 April 2009, UTV launched a 30-minute late evening news & current affairs programme, UTV Live Tonight, which airs at 10.30pm on Monday – Thursday nights and incorporates the station's late news bulletin alongside extended political and business coverage. A shorter late night bulletin airs each Friday at 10.30pm and during the programme's summer break.
UTV Live at Six anchors
UTV Live Tonight anchors
Other bulletin presenters
- Main presenter: Frank Mitchell
- Lynda Bryans – presenter (1996–2010)
- Mike Nesbitt – presenter (1993–2006); now Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
- Kate Smith – presenter (1993–2006); now a member of the Northern Ireland Screen board
In October 2008, UTV announced its intention to cut 13 jobs in the news department due to corporate restructuring. The station declared it was offering staff a voluntary redundancy package. Staff who were reported to have accepted the redundancy package were:
- Ivan Little – reporter (1980–2009); now freelancer
- Claire McCollum – presenter/reporter (2000–09)
- Jeanie Johnston – Features Editor (2000–09); Reporter (1978–2009)
- Fearghal McKinney – presenter/reporter (1994–2009)
- Adrian Logan – sports editor; sports presenter/reporter (1985–2009)
- Macmillan Media website
- £250,000 update at UTV studios Belfast Telegraph, 3 July 2006; accessed 18 January 2009
- UTV Annual Programme Statement 2008 and Programme Review 2007
- UTV Annual Programme Statement 2009 and Programme Review 2008 UTV Media
- UTV Annual Programme Statement 2006 and Programme Review 2005 UTV Media
- UTV Six Tonight opening titles YouTube; accessed 22 June 2008
- Ulster Newstime opening titles YouTube; accessed 22 June 2008
- UTV Live opening titles – early 1993 YouTube; accessed 22 June 2008
- UTV Live opening titles – June 1993 YouTube; accessed 22 June 2008
- UTV Live intro 1997 YouTube; accessed 22 June 2008
- UTV Live News and Promos 1995 YouTube; accessed 22 June 2008
- "UTV unveils shake-up for news" Belfast Telegraph, 26 February 1999
- "Frank and Co shunted off prime slot" Belfast Telegraph, 1 February 2004; accessed 22 June 2008
- LIVE AT 5.30 MOVES TO LUNCHTIME.doc "UTV Live at 5.30 moves to lunchtime" UTV Press Office, 10 February 2004, accessed 22 June 2008
- "Fan power wins back live show" Belfast Telegraph, 22 February 2004; accessed 17 June 2007
- "UTV Life may face axe" Belfast Telegraph, 8 October 2008; accessed 18 January 2009
- UTV Live Rebrand: Timeline of Events UTV Today
- UTV Life: Info UTV Today, accessed 18 January 2009
- "UTV stars fear for jobs as bosses swing axe" Belfast Telegraph, 17 October 2008; accessed 18 October 2008
- "A poignant finale for popular UTV show" News Letter, 7 February 2009; accessed 7 February 2009
- "Timely launch for new UTV series" UTV Press Office, 27 May 2009, accessed 20 September 2009
- "Lynda Bryans makes dignified farewell to UTV", Belfast Telegraph, 1 July 2010; accessed 23 July 2010
- "Stars under threat as UTV cuts jobs" News Letter, 15 October 2008; accessed 27 February 2009
- "UTV stars fear for jobs as bosses swing axe" Belfast Telegraph, 17 October 2008; accessed 27 February 2009
- "Ivan itch for change" Sunday Life, 18 January 2009; accessed 27 February 2009
- "Claire calls time out" Sunday Life, 22 February 2009; accessed 27 February 2009
- "Another news veteran to leave UTV screens" News Letter, 24 January 2009; accessed 27 February 2009
- "Two popular faces leaving UTV news" News Letter, 20 January 2009, accessed 27 February 2009
- "Angry Logie quits UTV" Belfast Telegraph, 24 April 2009, accessed 24 April 2009
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