Saturday 18 November 2017

On the brink? Ring Twink! TV3 dials up some domestic big guns

Twink
Twink
GAA pundit Senan Connell with weatherman Martin King and Michael Stokes (9) from Donaghmede, who features in 'Temple Street Children's Hospital
Chef Stuart O'Keeffe, who will host 'Stuart's Kitchen', with Glenda Gilson
Ex-justice minister Nora Owen, who will present 'Mastermind Ireland'

Shane Hickey

A FORMER justice minister presenting 'Mastermind'; the secret sex lives of the Irish; Twink as agony aunt -- it can only be the TV3 schedule.

The broadcaster plans to use more than a few tried and tested ideas for its upcoming autumn season, including 'Tallafornia', a reality show about young and buff west Dubliners, and a series tracking the 'Southside Housewives'.

The beauty theme will continue in 'Tearaway Teen to Beauty Queen' where "terrors and tomboys" will compete for the chance to represent Ireland in a pageant.

Many of TV3's most recognisable faces, including Vincent Browne and Ursula Halligan, were at the launch of the station's new season yesterday, where the channel promised 230 hours of home-produced shows.

Reflecting this rise in Irish content was the fact that most of those at the launch were local personalities, instead of actors from bought-in programmes like 'Coronation Street', who were the main feature of previous launches.

"We have a lot of Irish content on the schedule. 'Coronation Street' and 'Emmerdale' weren't our main story this year," a spokesperson said.

Agony aunt

Among the local attractions is 'Give Adele a Bell', in which entertainer Adele 'Twink' King will host a live agony-aunt phone-in show.

"If you find yourself on the brink, ring Twink," said programming director Ben Frow.

Morning host Alan Hughes will get his primetime chance with the Irish version of 'Family Fortunes', while 'Hen Nights', a fly-on-the-wall show, will follow soon-to-be brides on their last big night out.

Nora Owen, the former Fine Gael justice minister, will take on the role of Magnus Magnusson when she tests contestants' knowledge of specialist subjects on 'Mastermind Ireland'.

"It is an interesting change in career," she said of the show, which will air after Christmas.

However, she denied she would take on the traits of other female hosts such as Anne Robinson. "It is not in my nature to be quite as severe as she is," she said.

Taking influence from the US show 'Jersey Shore' will be 'Tallafornia', which will follow the lives of Nikitia, Natalie and five other west Dublin natives as they live under the same roof together.

Another new arrival is 'Animal A&E on the Road', a follow-up show to the original 'Animal A&E', in which Andrea Hayes will report on animal-welfare issues.

A three-part series on Irish sex lives, meanwhile, promises to look at sex tourism, vice girls and swinging, among other subjects. Mr Frow denied the station was 'dumbing down'. "We are a terrestrial broadcaster. We have a responsibility to cover a broad range of subjects. There is no subject I won't cover but you have to cover it responsibly," he said.

Chief executive David McRedmond said TV3 was now watched by more people in Ireland than the three main British channels combined and had been the only station to grow in audience share over the last three years.

Up to €5m will be spent over the next year on a new studio at TV3's headquarters in Ballymount, Dublin, which will allow it to make high-definition programmes.

The station said 43pc of its output was now Irish and it hoped to bring this to 50pc within three years.

TV3 has made much of its improved situation, saying that it now has a 45pc greater audience share than RTE2.

However, this appeared to be the only association TV3 wanted to have with the national broadcaster.

Mr Frow said he was far from impressed by last week's RTE autumn launch.

"I thought it (RTE's launch) was straight," he said. "I was not inspired by it.

"There is nothing I would want from it."

Irish Independent

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