THE media in Scotland were all at sixes and sevens yesterday when it was announced that the much-mooted “Scottish Six” news programme would be on a “wrong” channel and be at 7pm.

Despite expectations that the BBC would host a “Scottish Six” featuring both Scottish, UK and international news, it was Scottish Television who yesterday stole a march on their rivals at BBC Scotland by announcing that it will launch a “Scottish Six” style programme in early 2017.

It will be dubbed STV News Tonight and will be broadcast for 30 minutes each evening at 7pm on a new channel to be known as STV 2.

The company emphasised yesterday that STV News Tonight is a new service for an expanded network of city channels that will be shown on Freeview as STV 2.

In addition to the existing Glasgow and Edinburgh set-ups, three new licences – Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee – will be added in early 2017 and the programme will also be streamed live on the STV Player.

The announcement has not caused any great stir at BBC Scotland where different pilots of a “Scottish Six” are in development.

Three pilot shows are due to be made this week at its Pacific Quay headquarters.

It is embarrassing, however, in the context of the fact that BBC Scotland announced the cancellation of Scotland 2016 in June after it lost out in the ratings battle with STV’s Scotland Tonight show.

Vehement critics of the “Scottish Six” such as members of the Scottish Conservatives have always targeted the BBC for criticism of the idea and were caught off guard by STV’s announcement yesterday.

Some English-based senior BBC managers are also opposed to a “Six”, but the current modernisation of the BBC’s charter has given the opportunity for the corporation to at least experiment with the concept.

A hint of the embarrassment at BBC Scotland was shown by the fact that Andrew Brown, the producer of Reporting Scotland and editor of the pilots, went on BBC Radio Scotland to say that his team were really keen to have a “six” commissioned.

He added: “It’s for people much higher up in the BBC to decide that is the direction we need to go in.”

The new programme will be produced using STV and ITV news coverage and will offer news from a “Scottish perspective and delivered with the trademark STV News values,” according to sources at the Glasgow-headquartered broadcaster, which employs up to 160 journalists across Scotland.

“Recognising the unique news agenda of a devolved nation, the programme will deliver for the first time a service tailored specifically to the interests of Scottish viewers,” a spokesman for STV said.

The programme will be produced and broadcast from Glasgow, using STV’s resources across Scotland and ITV’s international and UK news sources.

Bobby Hain, director of channels at STV, said: “We’re committed to delivering choice for our consumers and we believe there is an appetite for a nightly news programme that combines Scottish, UK and international news. STV News Tonight will be produced and presented live from Glasgow, drawing on the newsgathering resources of both STV News across Scotland and ITV News worldwide.

“We’re building on the success of the existing STV News output that reflects the lives of audiences in Scotland.

“Our existing Channel 3 news service is localised from studios in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow with seven bulletins daily. Our city TV service offers hourly updates.

“STV News Tonight will complement the existing schedule of bulletins with an editorial brief that is fresh and distinctive.”

Gordon Macmillan, head of news at STV, said: “This is a programme whose merits have been long-debated in Scotland.

“I’m delighted that it is STV that will bring this landmark new programme to Scotland’s screens.

“Viewers can look forward to yet another TV first: the best of Scottish, UK and international news in a single programme and presented in the way that solely meets the needs of a Scottish audience.”

STV says its existing news service “delivers locally focused, relevant and high quality news reaching around one million people each day on air and online.”

A spokesman for BBC Scotland said the corporation was continuing to develop its pilots for the “Scottish Six” with a target of achieving that development by “the end of the year.”