TV3 strikes oil with brand new 'Dallas'
IT was a move worthy of scheming oil baron JR Ewing.
TV3 announced its spring schedule last night, with a prime-time slot for the return of what was once the biggest show on RTE.
Iconic 1980s favourite 'Dallas' will reappear on Irish TV screens in late February -- but this time out, the warring Ewing family will be on TV3.
Featuring original cast members Larry Hagman (JR), Patrick Duffy (Bobby) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen), the new 10-part series will take up where the story of the warring Texan family, which ran from 1978 to 1991, left off.
"We got it by stealth. If RTE is Bobby, then TV3 has a touch of JR.
"But we got it because distributors Warner Brothers liked our business," TV3's director of programmes Ben Frow told the Irish Independent.
Ballymount bosses have been in secret negotiations for six months to secure the Irish rights to the show, only sealing the deal two weeks ago.
"It got pretty terrifying at times, and TV3 put in some very hard work.
"But we know the appeal 'Dallas' has across Ireland, and we're over the moon to have it in our schedule," he said.
'Dallas' -- which will air on Sunday nights -- will be part of TV3's 'Big Week' which, it claimed last night at its launch in Dublin's Convention Centre, would be about using the biggest TV shows to make "every night a big night on TV3".
The big TV shows include 'The Irish Bake Off' -- a local version of BBC's hugely successful 'Great British Bake Off', which four million people watched each week in the UK.
Former Fine Gael minister Nora Owen was one of the unlikely stars at last night's launch, as the host of another cross-channel arrival 'Mastermind', in which she will assume the quizmaster role made famous by Magnus Magnusson.
The gilded lifestyles of south Dublin ladies who lunch will feature in 'Southside Housewives' which will follow the lives of socialites Lisa Murphy, Virginia Macari, Jo Jordan and botox proponent Dr Danielle Meagher.
'Tallafornia', 'Take Me Out Ireland', 'Family Fortunes' presented by Ireland AM's Alan Hughes, along with the return of 'Come Dine With Me' -- with one episode featuring Holly Sweeney, the former girlfriend of golfer Rory McIlroy, are other highlights of the new TV3 schedule.
The channel will also be screening a new viewers' letters and TV review programme 'As Seen On TV', which will be presented by new face, Liam Heffron.
"Yes it will feature views on RTE programmes too. After all, they talk about us on 'The Republic of Telly' so I think it's time for a bit of bite back," added Mr Frow.
Last night an RTE spokeswoman said that while it was aware that a new series of 'Dallas' was in production, she denied RTE had made any bid to secure the rights to it in Ireland.
TV3's adult share of viewing grew by 1.3pc in 2011, the biggest increase recorded by any terrestrial channel in the country.