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Newsnight

From Academic Kids

For the CNN programme see NewsNight with Aaron Brown

Newsnight is a British daily news analysis, current affairs and politics programme broadcast between 22.30 and 23.20 on weekdays on BBC2. Until 1999 it also appeared, in repackaged form, on BBC World Service Television and BBC World.

The programme's main presenters are Jeremy Paxman, Gavin Esler and Kirsty Wark. More irregular presenters include Jon Sopel, Eddie Mair and the programme's political editor, Martha Kearney. On Friday evenings Newsnight proper gives way at 23.00 to Newsnight Review, a 35-minute slot presented by Mark Lawson, Tom Sutcliffe or Kirsty Wark in which events in the arts are discussed by a panel of pundits.

Newsnight has been running since 30 January 1980. Peter Snow presented the programme for its first 17 years and still helps out for special broadcasts, such as those covering wars and elections. Other former presenters include Peter Hobday, Charles Wheeler (latterly the BBC's chief reporter in Washington DC), John Tusa, Olivia O'Leary, Francine Stock, Sarah Montague, and Jeremy Vine. Vine's style grew so close to that of the incumbent main presenter, Paxman, that the latter was said to refer to the former as Mini-me.

Traditionally at the end of the programme the there is a short stock market update. In 2005 Newsnight's editor, Peter Barron, replaced it with a 30-second weather report. He agured that the market data was available on the Internet and that weather would be more useful. However the change bought a flurry of complaints.

On one occasion Jeremy Paxman said in his usual sarcastic tone: "So finally and controversially - tomorrow's weather forecast. It's a veritable smorgasbord. Sun. Rain. Thunder. Hail. Snow. Cold. Wind. Not worth going to work really." Another occasion saw him quip: "It's April, what do you expect? Take an umbrella."

Yet he claimed he was happy presenting the weather.

Newsnight conducted a telephone poll, Michael Fish, a former weather forecaster was featured on the programme arguing for the weather report, while Norman Lamont, former Chancellor of the Exchequer campaigned for the market update. Of almost 6000 viewers who phoned in, 62% said they would prefer the market update to return. Which it did on Monday, 18 April, 2005.

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