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Million tune in to see Kaplinsky

20th February 2008

Natasha Kaplinsky's debut as the face of Five News attracted nearly double the channel's usual audience, with close to one million viewers tuning in.

The former BBC television presenter joined the channel in a reported £1 million-a-year move, and has featured prominently in heavily promoted advertisements for the revamp.

According to overnight figures, her first 5pm bulletin on Monday pulled in 957,000 viewers, a 43 per cent increase on the average for that slot and equating to a 7.5 per cent audience share.

The 7pm bulletin, meanwhile, had 431,000 viewers, a rise of 28 per cent , with a 1.9 per cent share of the audience. Channel 4's evening news bulletin, which began at the same time, was watched by nearly 800,000 viewers.

Five News bosses reportedly imposed a casual dress code for Ms Kaplinsky during the two half-hour broadcasts, which includes wearing jeans.

The early evening news broadcast on Five originally went out at 5:30pm, but changed slots after the channel secured the rights to Neighbours, the long-running Australian soap opera.

The 5:30pm slot averaged 548,000 viewers, or an audience share of 3.8 per cent, while the 7pm slot pulled in 279,000 viewers, which represents a 1.4 per cent audience share.

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