TV3 goes live with new daytime line-up

Old afternoon schedule was ‘a little bit dead behind the eyes’, says director of content

"It's kind of smart," says presenter Lucy Kennedy of the Late Lunch Live set, as she and co-presenter Martin King get their publicity shots taken. "Obviously we're going to trash it."

Ikea has provided TV3 with the furnishings, including the kitchen's black tagine centrepiece, though the olive sofas were specially built to the right height for the cameras and the "hot beverage machine" is courtesy of main sponsor Tassimo.

The set is built for interaction between guests on the couch and the kitchen area, where there will be “a chef a day”, promises series producer Kathy Littler.

Although the celebrity guests will muck in on occasion, the cooking will be "quite purist", says the former producer of RTÉ's The Afternoon Show, as viewers don't like it when you mess around too much.


After "something like 1,803 shows", TV3's The Morning Show has been axed and effectively replaced by a 2.30pm-3.30pm hour of live chat, cookery and roving reports. "Our daytime ratings have gone down by about 12 per cent over the last 12 months, so you can't ignore that. You have to see why people are going," says TV3 director of content Jeff Ford.

Late Lunch Live begins on Monday, when an extended Ireland AM and a new 12.45pm news bulletin also go to air – Ireland AM's audience share can tip 30 per cent and Ford would like some of its ratings magic to rub off on the shows that follow it.

"Our share goes from being very high, then it dips down, and then it comes back up again. So it is just sort of trying to take away that dip in the afternoon."

Ford, who joined TV3 earlier this year, says he is not at Ballymount to “manage decline” in its performance, but to chase viewers in every slot.

“I just wanted to do was to change the attitude of our daytime shows. We owe it to our audiences, because we’re a little bit dead behind the eyes in the afternoon.”

Whereas The Morning Show concentrated on "real people overcoming illnesses and issues in their lives", Late Lunch Live will have more of a celebrity sheen, a "very, very busy" tone and fourth-wall-breaking direction.

And rather than casting the female presenter in the “straight” role, there mostly to nod sympathetically and laugh at the male host’s gags, the show has opted for the equal match of Kennedy and King.

“Lucy’s not straight at all, she is very lively. And Martin is loved in TV3 and loved by audiences.”

Both Kennedy and The Great Irish Bake Off presenter Anna Nolan are more typically associated with RTÉ. "I think we need to find a few more faces of our own, but sometimes you can't get that new face immediately," Ford says.

“If people are available, then you should utilise talent. Talent moves around, because it does. We’re very lucky that Lucy wanted to come and work for us.”

Ford's commissioning of two quiz co-productions, The Lie and Pressure Point, will also lessen the afternoon schedule's reliance on repeats and imports, including the current occupant of the 2.30pm-3.30pm slot, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“It’s a great show, a big show, but it doesn’t really say much about this country,” he says. “Ellen is off the schedule, yes, I’m afraid.”

Oh well. At least she still has the Oscars to host.

“Yes, I haven’t phoned her to tell her yet,” jokes Ford. “Always a difficult call when you have to tell Ellen she’s not on anymore.”

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics