SPORTING a slicked-back haircut and a sharp suit, legendary journalist and broadcaster Vincent Browne promised to show his lighter side when he presents a new late-night current affairs programme on TV3 this autumn.
The veteran journalist and publisher of 'Village' magazine left the ranks of rival RTE last year following a 10-year stint hosting his own late-night radio currents affairs programme.
His most recent television appearance was a dramatic affair, as he sprang from the audience of a press conference to press Bertie Ahern over his finances during the launch of Fianna Fail's manifesto before the election campaign last May.
Yesterday, Browne, the founder of Magill magazine and former editor of the the Sunday Tribune, vowed to continue asking the hard questions when necessary, but said he also hopes to end each segment of the new show -- 'TV3 Nightly News with Vincent Browne' -- on a lighter note.
"It won't be relentlessly hard-hitting. I hope to deal with the significant issues of the day and do them well, but I do hope to have a bit of fun as well," he told the Irish Independent yesterday after TV3 announced its new autumn line-up.
The 40-minute show will feature a mixture of news bulletins and current affairs with contributions from political reporter Ursula Hannigan and news anchor Alan Cantwell.
The format of the new show will also be a departure from the norm and will feature Mr Browne conducting the show from a "virtual studio" in which any image is possible.
"We have some new ideas for the format that would make it quite different," he said. But viewers will have to wait until the programme airs on November 5 to find out exactly what he has in mind.
TV3 promises more innovations in the coming weeks and a shift away from its reliance on popular American and British sit-coms and soap operas to an emphasis on more home-grown subject matter.
It will run four new documentary series starting in November that focus on issues ranging from the ill-gotten gains of underworld crime lords to profiles of would-be beauty queens.
Sunday World crime writer Paul Williams will host a new series delving into the murky world of criminals and their money in a series called 'Dirty Money' that examines the work of the Criminal Assets Bureau, set up following the murder of 'Sunday Independent' journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.
Coping with cancer will also come under the microscope in a documentary series entitled 'Me and the Big C'.
Another locally made production called 'Grass Roots' follows the dedicated players and supporters of the GAA, whilst another series called 'Diary Of....' will profile a range of personalities, ranging from aspiring beauty queens to bride grooms.
The Emmy-nominated series 'The Tudors', starring Cork-born hunk Jonathon Rhys Meyers is also being viewed by network executives as another "jewel in the crown" of the autumn line-up. The 10-part series on the life of King Henry VIII has Cork-born Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the lead role with 'The Commitments' star Maria Doyle Kennedy as Queen Catherine of Aragon.
It begins on September 4.