'Everything's just great at TV3' as Alan Hughes signs a new deal
Alan Hughes has insisted TV3 is doing better than ever in the wake of the news that RTE is set to outsource its young people's television to independent production companies.
The station was recently acquired by Virgin Media along with UTV Ireland and with many changes afoot, the Ireland AM star reckons Ballymount is in a good place these days.
"At the moment, we've just been taken over by Virgin so everything is really positive in TV3.
"We've got the soaps back and it's a really exciting time and I am delighted to be there," he told the Herald.
The Dubliner revealed he has signed a new contract with the station guaranteeing him a place on the small screen for the next two years.
"I've just signed a new two- year contract so that's all finalised so I'll be on your screens, like me or hate me, for another two years," he said.
Things are not as rosy for the staff of UTV Ireland with the fledgling station netting a loss of €19.5m in 2015 and they have recently lost soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale to TV3 with Virgin Media's acquisition.
Alan reckons RTE's move to outsource its much-loved children's programmes may not be such a bad thing because the shows themselves will not change much under new management.
However, he did acknowledge that it may be a worrying time for the presenters who are not on full-time contracts with the national broadcaster as well as behind-the-scenes staff who are set to lose their jobs with the change.
Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh said many staffers were "very disappointed" by the news while Two Tube's Blathnaid Treacy labelled the move as "dreadful news".
"I don't know whether things are going to change. Just because they outsource the programmes doesn't mean the programmes are going to change," he said.
"The staff presenters are the staff presenters but when you outsource a department, it might mean you get better programming.
"I know it's sad and it's an uncertain time for presenters. It could be a good thing, we'll have to wait and see."
In the wake of the shock news RTE was forced to reassure staff that soap favourite Fair City was staying in Montrose.
However the broadcaster is currently reviewing other output.
With TV3 and UTV Ireland having now joined forces under the one company, Alan reckons the stations together could give rival RTE a run for its money in the ratings department.
"I can definitely see them beating some RTE One shows in the ratings, definitely.
"We've always done our own thing," he said.