Why are Gladiators and Saturday Night Takeaway not airing this week?

Gladiators and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway are among the Saturday night entertainment shows that have been ousted from the schedule this weekend due to major sporting events.

The semi-final for the BBC One gameshow Gladiators will air on Saturday March 23 as its typical 5.50pm to 6.50pm slot has been taken to make room for the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Newcastle United.

Comedian Michael McIntyre’s gameshow The Wheel will continue to air on BBC One on Saturday evening, with a later start time of 7.40pm.

While ITV 1’s Saturday Night Takeaway has been cut from the schedule due to the Six Nations Championship games, which are airing on the channel from 3.55pm to 7.20pm.

The show sees Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly present comedy sketches, interact with celebrity guests and invite audience members to play games.

In the show’s absence this week, the presenting duo shared a host of photos to social media from the series so far where they could be seen dressed as shrubbery, laughing at their own paintings and chatting with Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary.

McPartlin and Donnelly are set to take a break from the show at the conclusion of the 20th series as they feel it is the “perfect time to pause for a little while and catch our breath”.

The changes to the scheduling were set in advance due to the major sporting events coverage.

The second semi-final of Gladiators next Saturday will see more contenders battle against the “superhuman” Gladiators for a place in the final.

Hosting the 11-episode series revamp is Barney Walsh and his father, presenter of The Chase Bradley Walsh.

The original American Gladiators series was broadcast in the US in 1989 and became so popular a UK version was made, starting in 1992, and presented by Ulrika Jonsson and footballer John Fashanu.

From 2008-2009, Gladiators was brought back for a short run on Sky.

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