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All Ireland Talent Show to return -- at the double

IT HAS been slated by the critics and ignored by the press, but somehow the All Ireland Talent Show is about to be recommissioned.

And it is set to be broadcast two nights a week, instead of the current one.

RTE chiefs are believed to be close to agreeing a third series with programme-makers Tyrone Productions -- but only if it gets a radical X Factor-style makeover by the autumn.

The series has consistently managed to pull in impressive rating figures, averaging 500,000 viewers each week, despite its dubious quality.

And now it seems that those in power are hoping to build on this success by airing the show on Saturday evenings, as well as Sundays, the Herald has learned.

"The series has been a huge success with viewers since it first started and those in the know feel that they should capitalise on this while it's at the height of its popularity," said a programme insider.

"The All Ireland Talent Show already airs twice on a Sunday, once for the contestants' performances and once for the results.

"They're now considering doing what Simon Cowell did with the X Factor and extending these shows and putting them on two different nights instead."

Despite being widely panned by critics, Montrose powers have continued to throw their weight behind the home-grown show.

A special edition of the show even dominated the airwaves on New Year's Eve, when Galway presenter Grainne Seoige was given the honour of hosting the big countdown for the first time.

The programme was also nominated for a prestigious IFTA Award at the annual glitzy event last week.

John McHugh, chief executive of Tyrone Productions said nothing had yet been finalised, but was hopeful the show would return.

A spokesperson for RTE said "We can't comment on any show's future until the current series has finished."