ITV has postponed the semi-final and final of The Voice as part of changes to its programming over the coronavirus outbreak.
The broadcaster’s CEO Carolyn McCall said that ITV is being “deeply affected” by Covid-19, but remains “committed” to providing news, factual programmes and entertainment to keep viewers “informed about the crisis and to offer them an escape from it”.
Two “clip-based” episodes of The Voice will be broadcast in place of the two postponed episodes of the programme.
A statement from ITV described the move as a “difficult decision”, adding: “We will continue to monitor the situation and announce a new date for these shows, which were due on air on the March 28 and April 4, in due course.
“This Saturday, the final pre-recorded knockout episode will air as planned from 8.30pm.”
Soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale will continue to be broadcast and ITV said that new episodes will continue to be made, however shoots will feature fewer cast members and less filming on location.
Contingency plans have also been made to broadcast news from studios outside London if necessary.
Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television, said: “As a public service broadcaster, ITV has a vitally important role to play in helping to provide the latest information, insight and guidance to viewers, told through trusted presenters and programmes.
“We’ve already seen significantly increased viewing of our news and live programming which demonstrates the public’s need for fair, accurate and impartial news and information.”
The broadcaster also announced plans to air a new weekly Monday night show called Coronavirus Report – which will “give viewers an in-depth insight into issues affecting them during the current crisis”, Mr Lygo added.
Programmes will also be broadcast without a studio audience present including Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, which will air this weekend.
Plans have also been drawn up for daytime TV that could see filming take place in different locations with guests appearing remotely from other studios or via the internet.
Ms McCall added: “Whatever happens, we will continue to broadcast our six channels, which, between them, offer hundreds of hours of content every week for free and accessible to everyone in the UK.”