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From best pals to rivals -- Derek and Alan face TV ratings war

THEY may be best friends off screen but Derek Mooney and Alan Hughes are set to go head to head in a ratings war.

RTE is set to unveil a new Irish quiz show hosted by Mooney which will be in competition with TV3's Family Fortunes.

Like Family Fortunes, Derek's new show Who Knows Ireland Best? will be based around a series of surveys. But executive producer Philip McGovern told the Herald that the two shows are completely different and can't be compared.

"It's not like Family Fortunes. This is an Irish home-grown series. At the end of the day, Family Fortunes is a game show. But Who Knows Ireland Best? is more similar to QI, it's more of a scientific show.

"This will be about understanding the nation and what they really think about certain topics. From a former Rose of Tralee to a group of tattooists and taxi drivers, we will have a wide range of perspectives, which turns out to be a lot of fun," he explained.

Mr McGovern, who works for Big Mountain Productions, also revealed that unlike Family Fortunes, Who Knows Ireland Best? won't be offering a prize to the winners.

"Most of the teams end up talking about their personal experiences which can be quite funny. From asking do you believe in God to have you ever peed in a swimming pool, it's about getting to know the Irish people," he said.

Despite denying similarities between the two shows, insiders revealed that Derek, who was best man at Alan's wedding to Karl Broderick, has been feeling the heat and knows his show will be pitted against Alan's.

"Derek knows that it will be tough being up against Alan's Family Fortunes show. That's already a proven success in the UK so everyone knows it will do really well on TV3."