We're no longer 'ITV Lite' says TV3 boss Jeff Ford
The rights to the Rugby World Cup, a brand new soap and over 2,500 hours of homegrown programming will help TV3 shake its former moniker of 'ITV Lite', according to TV3 Director of Content Jeff Ford.
"We were definitely considered to be 'ITV Lite' when we launched but this is our most ambitious slate to date," Mr Ford told the Irish Independent.
"TV3 mean business. We want to be not only the number one commercial broadcaster in the country but the number one broadcaster. RTE and UTV Ireland are not a threat, but they are competition."
TV3's new slate was unveiled at Dublin's Mansion House yesterday, with 30 new original programmes being added to the schedule.
Having lost the rights to both Emmerdale and Coronation Street as UTV airs a new television station in Ireland, TV3 have a lot riding on their new soap Red Rock.
"It is a bold move," said producer Andrew Lowe. "But we are confident Irish audiences are hungry for this type of show."
Several cast members of the weekly soap were revealed at the launch, with Veronica Guerin actor Paul Roe taking on the lead role of the town's resident villain.
"I was painting the door of my house on Tuesday night when I got the call," he said. "I haven't even read the scripts yet."
Roe will be joined on screen by Game of Thrones actress Jane McGrath and Adam Weafer. Political drama The Guarantee, starring Peter Coonan, is also predicted to pull in strong ratings. Written by Colin Murphy, the programme dramatises the final four years of excess at Anglo Irish Bank, with Coonan playing the part of banker David Drumm.
Brian Dowling will present Saturday night quiz show Sitting on a Fortune. "It's camp, it's fun, it's over the top - a bit like me," he said.
Lucy Kennedy is looking forward to becoming Ireland's answer to Cilla Black and will front Blind Date.
"I have been dreaming of presenting this show for years, I am thrilled TV3 bought the Irish rights," she said.
Comedian Jason Byrne will present The Jason Byrne Snaptastic Show, while radio DJ Ray Foley will present quiz show The Algorithm.
Magazine-style programme Xpose welcomes new host Peter O'Riordan, who has previously worked with US gossip site TMZ.
Keith Barry will return with another series of the mind-bending Brain Hacker.
Angeline Ball will host Home Cook's Academy, while two-part series The Stand Ups follows the lives of comedians Pauline McLynn and Ardal O'Hanlon. Documentaries include Ireland's Oyster Clan, A TD in My House and Darndale which has drawn comparisons to Channel 4's Benefits Street.