TV3 to screen more home shows in autumn

Fri, Aug 21, 2009, 01:00

HOME-PRODUCED programmes account for more than one-third of TV3’s output in its new autumn/winter schedule, a significant increase on previous years according to the station.

TV3 chief executive David McRedmond said yesterday the station was producing 1,200 hours of Irish programming three years ago, compared with 1,900 hours in the new schedule.

“Essentially the major part of our schedule is now Irish and that’s a big shift for us,” he said.

He said the TV3 audience was getting younger with the majority of its audience now under 44.

Even shows such as Vincent Browne’s political show were attracting a young audience, he said. Nightly News with Vincent Brownehas been averaging 119,000 viewers per episode, or 12.1 per cent of the adult ABC1 population.

Mr Browne’s show was the most watched programme after British soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale, Mr McRedmond said.

Asked if he regretted axing The Political Partypresented by Ursula Halligan, he said: “I always have regrets axing anything . . . but I think Ursula is going to have a few surprises in terms of what she will be bringing later in the year.”

He said the TV3 audience was often underrated by politicians who did not realise that it attracted the floating voter. This vote was crucial in last Lisbon referendum and would be in the next one, he said. “The floating vote in Ireland is young, female . . . and that is TV3’s audience.”

Mr McRedmond said three years ago, 250 TV3 staff were producing one channel. Now, after pay cuts and two rounds of redundancies, 200 staff were producing TV3, 3e and an online service.

“It’s too soon to say there’s a recovery but there’s some signs of some greater commercial activity in the autumn,” he said. “Certainly some of the bigger multinationals are coming back on to the schedule . . . it’s too soon to say what will happen to Irish advertisers.”

New TV3 programmes coming to air this season includes Business Matters, presented by businessman, broadcaster and former minister Ivan Yates, and a weekly current affairs show Midweek, presented by Colette Fitzpatrick.

TV3’s production unit launched last year will present several new series, including Nick’s Restaurant, a fly-on-the-wall series following maitre d’ Nick Munier and chef Stephen Gibson as they set up Pichet, their new Dublin restaurant.

The two-part The Forgotten Irishwill look at Irish emigrants in London while other documentaries will cover issues such as facing death, surviving the recession and alternative therapies.

The Taoiseachlooks at the most important office in the country and profiles former taoisigh. For something completely different, The Cosmetic Surgery Showthreatens to leave no body part unexplored. The Apprenticewill return and will be followed by the new The Apprentice: You’re Firedshow hosted by Brendan O’Connor.

TV3’s first two-part drama series The Guardsis shot in documentary style and will focus on three young gardaí who will do anything to secure a conviction. The station has also commissioned a feature-length drama Laura Windermere’s Bag, which is billed as a modern Irish take on Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan.

Bought-in shows include V, a remake of the 1980s aliens show, and Modern Familywhich is “laugh-out-loud funny”, according to TV3 director of programming Ben Frow. He also highlighted Fran, a new Irish comedy following the assistant manager of a senior league football team.