UTV Ireland's viewers fall 'staggeringly' after Corrie and Emmerdale, says TV3's new content boss Lynda
TV3 has claimed UTV Ireland's ratings "fall staggeringly" after the soaps air.
Director of content, Lynda McQuaid said the rival station's ratings only peak when Emmerdale and Coronation Street are on and that viewers switch off afterwards.
"UTV Ireland literally do a peak when the two soaps are on and I wouldn't say the world over there is a graph that falls so staggeringly," she told the Herald.
"It's unfortunate but that is what happened. They have failed to hold on to the audience after those programmes play.
"The one thing I will say about TV3 viewers is how loyal they are. Even before losing the soaps they are a very loyal breed.
"When UTV Ireland launched, TV3 came out very firmly saying it wouldn't impact ratings and the station would stay number two after RTE One and all we have done is proved that to be the case," she added.
UTV Ireland recently moved their news bulletin to the 5.30 slot but have failed to gain ground on TV3 in the ratings war.
Earlier this week their News: Ireland Live programme, anchored by Alison Comyn, reached just 4,700 viewers on Monday afternoon.
While Ms McQuaid would not comment on UTV's ratings, she said TV3's news programme is a "trusted brand".
"TV3 at the 5.30 (slot) is a recognisable brand, it is a trusted brand and that's the reason we are standing in the position we are," she said.
"All I am keen to do is build on what we are doing."
Ms McQuaid joined TV3 in April when Jeff Ford stepped down and plans to make her mark on the station.
"I came in with a definite game plan. I think whenever you come into a job this ambitious you have to have a definite 100-day game plan," she said.
She has since pulled the plug on Blind Date, which was set to be fronted by Lucy Kennedy, as she thinks it's an "out of date format".
"Lucy is TV3 gold and we had a long chat. I have plans but can't say what they are," she said.
She is also confident that there will be some Irish faces in Celebrity Big Brother.
"We needed something that bridged Britain's Got Talent into the Rugby World Cup, which is why we acquired Big Brother," she explained.
"I think there will be Irish celebrities in the celebrity version when the regular one finishes.
"I was trying to think of who would they go for - I think they would approach Twink and Virginia Macari. Louis Walsh would never do it," she added.
Last night, UTV Ireland spokesman Neal Cummins said UTV Ireland was "not going to get drawn into commenting on TV3's comments".
TV3 unveiled the highlights of its upcoming autumn schedule yesterday.
The slate includes several new acquisitions, including competitive renovation game show 'House Rules' and the 'Great Irish Menu', which follows on from the success of the BBC Two series 'The Great British Menu'.
Home-produced soap 'Red Rock', 'The Great Irish Bake-Off' and 'The Restaurant' will all return.
Fly on the wall documentary series 'The Joy' will detail the lives of inmates and guards in Mountjoy Prison, while Vincent Browne will front a one-off documentary focusing on Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams.
Ivan Yates, Simon Delaney and Anna Daly will provide entertainment over the weekend with mid-morning shows 'Saturday: AM' and 'Sunday: AM'.
All 48 Rugby World Cup matches will be screened, as will UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup finals.
Meanwhile, RTE Sport announced it has secured the rights to screen the UEFA Euro 2016 Championships.