Media: Talk of the Trade - Securing high cultural ground

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WHILE David Elstein expresses fears on this page today about programmes on ITV's Channel 3, its rival BBC 1 has made a move this week that edges it up-market. Its prestige arts programme Omnibus, which is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary, is to increase its output from 15 programmes to 20 in the forthcoming season and to 26 next year. The move comes as London Weekend Television's long-running South Bank Show, the direct rival to Omnibus, is being made to share its Sunday night slot with an arts programme from Meridian, the new ITV contractor for South-east England. The strengthening of Omnibus appears to be an attempt to win higher cultural ground for BBC 1 in advance of the review of the corporation's charter.