Few discerning viewers will be saddened by the end of Jackpot 247 – ITV’s overnight gaming show. From 1st July, the overnight slot is being filled with…programmes. Mostly repeats of daytime programmes and factual output.
It is unclear whether this is just a temporary arrangement before another contract is agreed or a permanent move. However there is a little point of interest from the point of view of following the consolidation of ITV into a consistent national service. The overnight slot was a reminder of times past.
ITV’s overnight gaming show predates the company’s purchase of UTV and Channel TV. Laws on gambling in both areas meant that, for one reason or another, Jackpot 247 could not be shown on UTV and Channel. So, even after the stations were integrated into ITV plc, the slot was filled in other ways – Teleshopping, ITV Nightscreen and repeat programmes with few associated costs.
The end of Jackpot 247 also means the end of the last schedule variations between ITV plc stations which are not actually down to regional programmes or the displacement of network programmes to accommodate them. It means that, for the first time regularly, there will be days when Channel and UTV follow exactly the same schedule as the English and Welsh regions.
Whatever happens in the medium term, it would be reasonable to assume ITV plc will not enter into contracts for shopping or gaming which do not cover all its regions.
STV, still independent, continues to do its own thing in the overnight hours. Currently it mostly shows ITV Nightscreen.