TV3 unveils new season schedule with impressive current affairs programming - and Ireland's Got Talent
TV3 announced its upcoming schedule of programming with a star-studded event at the National Concert Hall.
With the unveiling of plethora of homegrown shows, the undoubted jewel in the crown of the station's new season is Ireland's Got Talent, which will be hosted by Lucy Kennedy.
Mayo music maestro Louis Walsh is the brains behind the show and has recruited comedian Jason Byrne, British tv presenter Denise Van Outen and RuPaul's Drag Race star Michelle Visage as judges on the new series.
Kennedy, who has just returned from maternity leave after welcoming daughter Jessica last December, is confident the show will hold its own against RTE's Dancing With The Stars, which proved to be one of state broadcaster's biggest hits earlier this year.
"I think I'll be fine. I think it's going to be way better (than other talent shows). The Voice focuses on singing, this is somebody getting their dog to whistle. It's everything. It's way more variety," she told Independent.ie.
"It's going to be more light-hearted and more fun. I think Jason will be the naughty one, Michelle will be the Simon Cowell, Denise is the beautiful one and Louis is Louis. Ireland's Got Talent is a very different show to Dancing With The Stars. They are very different shows. I am a shorter, uglier version of Amanda Byram," she joked.
She will be double jobbing as her series of Living With Lucy will also return this Autumn. Luxy (41) was previously slated to present Blind Date when she first jumped ship from RTE in 2013, but comedian and Today FM host Al Porter (24) is taking over the reins of the modern adaptation of Cilla Black's legendary dating show.
"I was filming Living With Lucy so I couldn't do it. I was told, 'you're not getting Blind Date, but you are getting another show'. I was hoping it was this and it is. This is right up my street," she added.
Also leading the announcements was the news that Ronan O'Gara will be joining the station's Six Nations team after the station acquired the broadcasting rights in November 2015.
Fan favourite Gogglebox Ireland will also be returning with Deirdre O'Kane and Rory Cowan back narrating the third series.
There are still some questions about TV3's flagship entertainment show Xpose - on Tuesday, it was reported that it would be reduced from airing five days a week to three, but officials stayed tight lipped when asked about it today.
After stalwart Vincent Brown's retirement in July, broadcasters matt Cooper and Ivan Yates will officially take over the current affairs programme, aptly titled The Tonight Show to air on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11pm.
Newstalk presenter Sarah McInerney joins TV3's current affairs line-up with The Sunday Show, reviewing the news, which will include the group's new political correspondent Gavan Reilly.
Pat Kenny will return for another season of his live studio current affairs programme The Pat Kenny Show, while The Six O'Clock Show, Ireland Am, Xpose, Elaine and Weekend AM retain pride of place among its schedule, being described as "the backbone of TV3’s schedule, delivering relevant news, views and entertainment to viewers throughout the day."
Meanwhile, the fallout from the financial crisis is set to get the small screen treatment again after the success of The Guarantee in 2015, with the airing of The Bailout, a two-part drama series focusing on Brian Cowen.
TV3's Group Director of Programming Bill Malone said TV3 is "setting a new tone and a new level" for itself. "We are raising the bar higher than ever before with our most ambitious plans yet, with very significant announcements across every genre: Sport, News and Current Affairs, Drama, Factual and Entertainment.
"This new season launch is defined by Irish stories and Irish programming and is the result of great investment in studios, in content, in talent and in people."