Thursday, August 28, 2014 13:21
TV3 put on quite the show at the Mansion House in Dublin yesterday for its autumn and 2015 programme launch. It was a statement and a statement of intent – much like the catchcry of the station – to entertain and to deliver.
Proceedings were opened by TV3 CEO David McRedmond who spoke passionately about the journey of the station thus far. He highlighted the many obstacles TV3 has had to overcome not least the 2008 banking crisis and subsequent crash in ad industry revenues but also the continual opting out of channels from the UK into the Irish market. He also highlighted the successes of the station: the launch of 3e, cementing their position as the second most watched station and the opening of the new Sony HD studio in Ballymount. This again was a clear statement that in spite of UTV Ireland’s foray into the market TV3 are well equipped to see off the challenge.
MC duties were then handed over to Glenda Gilson and Mark Cagney who introduced the raft of new programmes set to sail the stormy waters of Irish TV in 2015. TV3 will broadcast 30 new original programmes and 8 new entertainment shows, over 2500 hours of home produced content in 2015.
The most ambitious of this new slate is undoubtedly Red Rock, heralded as the first new Irish soap in over a decade. Some of the cast were unveiled yesterday, relatively unknown actors who TV3 hope are set to become household names.
Also interviewed were the cast (including Peter Coonan) and writer (Colin Murphy) of The Guarantee, a feature length drama about the fatal 2008 Irish bank guarantee. A sleek looking drama that TV3 hope will be a big event upon broadcast.
In terms of entertainment the biggest reaction from the crowd came with the announcement that Lucy Kennedy will host an Irish version of Blind Date. This is part of a stream of game shows and entertainment programmes to be broadcast including Gogglebox, The Algorithim presented by Ray Foley, Sitting on a Fortune presented by Brian Dowling, The Lie, Jason Byrne’s Snaptastic Show, The Lazy Chef and Keith Barry: Brain Hacker.
There is also a concerted effort to push news and factual to a higher level with a host of new productions including Islanders, Donal McIntyre Investigates, Paramedics, Prison Families, The Joy and a series of interviews hosted by David McWilliams with influential world figures.
A major coup for TV3 on the sport front is the acquisition of the Rugby World Cup rights. Joe Schmidt was on hand to speak about Irish hopes ahead of the tournament. Already set to be one of the most watched events on television in 2015, who knows what a good Irish run in the tournament could be worth to the station. Also returning will be coverage of the Champions League and Europa League. Another surprise announcement was an exclusive deal to broadcast UFC free to air on 3e, this will take the form of a next day broadcast.
Coupled with all of the old reliables like Vincent Browne and Xpose (which has been extended to an hour) and foreign acquisitions like X-Factor, Downton Abbey and Broadchurch it is a very comprehensive and impressive schedule that TV3 have put together for 2015.
The market has changed and in many ways it is Hobson’s choice for TV3 to provide a large scale Irish produced programme schedule. But in essence this has been a policy that TV3 have always been keen to embrace. Sometimes it takes an event or a loss to take bold steps in a different direction. TV3 are certainly headed a new way and hoping that audiences are coming with them.
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