Thursday 24 May 2018

Move over RTE - Sky has €2m to 'create own Irish shows', claims station head Phil

Phil Edgar-Jones
Phil Edgar-Jones

Sean O'Grady

The head of Sky Entertainment has said he has €2m to spend on home-grown Irish television shows.

Phil Edgar-Jones has rivals TV3 and RTE firmly in his sights, despite insisting he does not regard them as competition.

While the broadcasters have borrowed ideas from UK shows lately, with the likes of Dancing With The Stars, Blind Date and Ireland's Got Talent, Edgar-Jones has insisted Sky will not be following their example.

"We don't think of them as competitors necessarily. It's about trying to create your own unique space in the market place," he said.

"What we are trying to do with these entertainment shows is carve out our own thing. What we're not doing is taking shows that already exist on another broadcaster. We are trying to create our own shows."

With a focus on Sky 1, the channel is being rebranded away from its family-friendly image with new shows that bosses hope will give it an edgier image.

On the hunt for a new comedy panel-style show, Edgar-Jones is also searching for some fresh Irish talent that could bring something new to the channel.

"We know there's lots of talent here. I love Jason Byrne, he's such a mad cat. He's brilliant," he told the Herald.

"Andrew Maxwell, I'm a great fan of his too.

"We're constantly having conversations with producers over here as well. We had Moone Boy and 50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy, which was a big success."

Speaking of 50 Ways star Baz Ashmawy, Edgar-Jones said he is someone who he could see fronting another show on Sky one day.

"Potentially, yeah. We're absolutely open to that," he said.

"We're open to ideas for anyone and everyone. If someone calls along with a great idea we will talk to them, it doesn't matter who they are."

Edgar-Jones, who previously worked on reality series Big Brother when it was on Channel 4, said he also has his eye on Irish presenter and former Big Brother winner Brian Dowling.

"He's someone who's ripe for reinvention I think," he said.

New show Sing: Ultimate A Cappella will bring together 20 a cappella groups, including two Irish acts - Ardu and the Apple Blossoms - in a competition based on raw vocal talent, with no instruments or backing music.

Ardu are a five-piece vocal group from Dublin who feature in the first episode, to be aired on October 6, while the Apple Blossoms are a three-piece girl group, also from the capital.

Imelda May will also make an appearance on the show, singing U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

Next year, Sky will be rolling out Carmageddon, in which teams build cars capable of destroying others.


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