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RTE beat TV3 in Garth Brooks ratings battle

THEY both aired documentaries on the Garth Brooks' debacle, but RTE beat TV3 by a margin of 285,100 when it came to the ratings battle.

The two TV stations went head-to-head on Tuesday night with their shows on the incidents surrounding the cancellation of the country singer's five Croke Park performances this month.

An average of 390,700 people tuned in to watch Garth Brooks: Tomorrow Never Came on RTE One - almost as many people as the 400,000 who had tickets for the axed gigs.

TV3 attracted an audience of 105,600 with its hour-long special, Garth Brooks: What Went Wrong?

As the Herald revealed, there was some last-minute scrambling by the broadcasters to ensure their documentary wasn't overshadowed.

TV3 originally planned to show their investigation on Wednesday night, but said that RTE rushed their show out to beat them to air.

TV3 accused their Donnybrook-based rivals of trying to "scupper" its offering, which it insisted was scheduled a fortnight ago and had been in production for several weeks.

In the end, TV3 decided to put their show on at 9pm, beating RTE to air by 35 minutes.


RTE didn't initially include its own programme on the fiasco in its official listings.

However, bosses rearranged the schedule line-up so that their 30-minute documentary would run at 9.35pm on RTE One.

The special went out instead of a re-run of the successful Ronan O'Gara documentary, which first aired last Christmas.

RTE said that their programme about what happened with Oklahoma star Garth's gigs and the clash with residents in the surrounding Croke Park area had also been in the making for weeks.

It said they wanted to show it at the earliest opportunity.

It turns out RTE's decision to broadcast their documentary on the controversy over Garth's sell out gigs was the right one - as they scored massive ratings with the slot and brought in an audience of 285,100 more than the Ballymount commercial station.

Although their numbers were not as high, a spokesperson from TV3 told the Herald they were pleased with the overall figures. Their programme aired again last night.

"We're happy with the performance, which contributed to TV3's year on year share being up 6.8pc," the spokesperson said.