FOOTBALL: ITV Flagship Falters in Late Slot
Nixon, Alan, The Independent (London, England)
ITV'S HIGHLIGHTS programme The Premiership pulled in fewer viewers than its BBC predecessor Match Of The Day after launching in its new late night slot on Saturday.
The programme was relegated from its prime-time 7pm slot to 10.30pm because it was dragging down Saturday night audiences. The new slot saw The Premiership lose a million viewers, drawing 2.8m.
The show moved to its new position for the first time on Saturday and was up against Parkinson on BBC1, which attracted 6m viewers. A Sunday morning repeat for The Premiership was watched by 900,000. When the BBC had the rights, Match of the Day drew an average of 4m viewers. However that figure was down to an average of 3.5m in November of last year with 600,000 for its Sunday morning screening.
An ITV spokesman said: "The BBC for the same week last year was considerably down on its average. It is too early to make any judgement after one week at 10.30pm. But we are only 400,000 down on aggregate."
Thierry Henry has been included in Arsenal's squad for tomorrow's visit to Deportivo La Coruna. The Frenchman missed Saturday's draw at Tottenham with an ankle injury and had been rated doubtful.
The Arsenal striker Francis Jeffers is facing an ankle operation. The pounds 8m signing from Everton was plagued by ankle worries in his last two seasons at Everton and has started three games in three months for the Gunners.
Two Everton players could be on their way out. The American forward Joe-Max Moore was left out on Sunday, despite the absence of Kevin Campbell and an ankle injury to Duncan Ferguson. The Everton manager, Walter Smith, picked the right-back Steve Watson ahead of Moore in attack. …