UTV station boss: 'I want to be number two next year'
Managing Director of UTV Ireland, Michael Wilson has revealed that he wants the new channel to be high in the ratings by this time next year and rivalling RTE.
Speaking ahead of the channel's long-awaited launch tomorrow, Michael is confident UTV Ireland will compete with the other channels.
"In a year's time I want UTV Ireland to be the second most-watched channel in Ireland after RTE 1. That's our target," he told the Herald.
The channel launches with a one-hour Emmerdale special and Pat Kenny's 'Out With the Old - In with the U' show which will see him on walkabout around the country meeting high-profile personalities and ordinary people.
"I'm really pleased that we have a quality journalist and fantastic broadcaster with the channel and the fact that Pat is on, on day one, sets out the stall of what we want to be - a modern, fresh channel for Ireland," he said.
"We've got something very representative of Ireland with Pat. I think we're hitting the ground running."
Pat will continue to present his show on Newstalk radio and details of his TV series are set to be released in the coming months.
"In the New Year we'll be announcing how it's going to look and how it's going to feel," Michael said.
"We're playing to Pat's strengths, he's got a great ability to to get people to tell him their story.
"Pat is just superb at that," he added.
While UTV is hoping Pat will be a big draw with audiences, Michael is also excited about their news service.
We're doing rehearsals for the news which starts on Monday, January 5 and it will be the first brand-new news service in Ireland for more than a decade," he said.
Alison Comyn and Newstalk's Chris Donoghue will be presenting the news bulletins and Michael is confident the pair will work well together.
"The chemistry between them is great.
"Alison is a great news reader and Chris is fresh to TV and he's coming across very, very well on screen," he said.