As of Sunday, the Mabat News on Channel 1 will have a new time slot. It will
move from 9 p.m. to 7:52 p.m. or as is announced on its television promos and on
Israel Radio, the new time slot will be the slightly catchier-sounding “eight
minutes to eight.”
The format will be slightly different with more live
reports from more locations around the country. Toward this end, Channel 1 has
appointed a reporter for the north of the country. The person hired from among
24 applicants is Ruby Hammerschlag who, until now, had been Channel 10’s
reporter for the North, and who was selected for Channel 1 from a short list of
four experienced broadcasters.
Contrary to rumor, anchors Merav Miller
and Yinon Magal will continue as news presenters.
From a legal
standpoint, Miller cannot be replaced because she is pregnant, with her second
The 38-minute Mabat newscast will be preceded by a nightly
22-minute sports round-up. For more than quarter of a century, there have been
arguments within the Israel Broadcasting Authority as to which is the best time
slot for Mabat.
Long before the advent of competitors – including Channel
2, then Channel 10; cable and satellite channels and, more recently, a variety
of videotaped news outlets accessible via the Internet – there were people of
influence within the IBA who thought the television news should be broadcast as
early as 5:30 p.m.
Another school of thought opined that either 6 or 6:30
was better, because that was when families would be gathered around the dinner
table. Other opinions centered for similar reasons on slightly later
Eventually, the earliest evening news was the IBA News in English,
generally broadcast in the late afternoon, and Mabat for many years occupied the
9 p.m. time slot, occasionally giving way to major sports events when it moved
to 8 or 8:30.
The new schedule is supposed to give it a
six-to-eight-minute edge over Channel 10 and Channel 2, whose main news
broadcasts are at two minutes to eight and 8 p.m., respectively.
slots are considered to be prime time. In fact, the press release put out by the
IBA in relation to Mabat was titled “The Battle for Prime Time.”
given new technological realities, prime time is what suits the individual.
Anyone with Internet access on a mobile phone, a tablet or a computer can choose
the time best-suited to them to watch the news, because it’s now available
around the clock on the websites of the respective public broadcasting and
commercial channels, and these broadcasts are also available on other
This allows news addicts to pursue business or leisure time
activities without fear of missing out on the news. That was the case even
before the Internet because it was possible to automatically record television
programs and to watch them at one’s own convenience.
Still, what the IBA
calls “the battle for prime time” will be a lot more than a newscast contest for
viewers. The changed time slot also makes way for a series of new programs and
the rescheduling and revamping of existing programs, with an emphasis on reality