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It's battle stations as TV3 launches raft of new shows

TV3 will fight the looming threat of UTV Ireland with a raft of home-grown shows fronted by former RTE stars.

A host of big names, including Jason Byrne, Lucy Kennedy, Laura Woods, Anna Daly, Peter Coonan, Donal McIntyre and David McWilliams have been given prime-time shows in the new schedule.

The station is concentrating on promoting local talent after UTV Ireland won the rights to screen soaps previously exclusive to TV3, including Corrie and Emmerdale.

It will also have to share shows like Graham Norton, Jonathan Ross, Ant 'n' Dec and The Cube from January, 2015.

But TV3 has revealed that over 50pc of its schedule will be home-produced next year and will splash out 75pc of its programming budget on making its own shows.

And it's ploughing millions of euros into its first new soap, Red Rock, as well as hard-hitting political drama The Guarantee.

Popular showbiz programme Xpose will exend to an hour in length and will also go live from next month.

The station's director of content, Jeff Ford, described TV3 as a "channel our viewers can truly relate to." And they were "closing the gap to being Ireland's number one broadcaster."

Former Podge and Rodge presenter Lucy Kennedy is set to become Ireland's answer to Cilla Black with her new dating show Blind Date.

She said: "After years of praying and months of begging Jeff, I have finally been given my dream gig. I'm not going to give too much away yet, obviously a lot of what we know will remain the same but there will be an Irish twist."

She said it will feature hopeful singletons ranging in age from 18 to 88 and insisted "Irish contestants are the best craic."

Presenter Laura Woods will front her own DIY show called Renovation Nation while Celebrity Big Brother winner Brian Dowling will step into the role of host for a gameshow called 'Sitting on a Fortune'.

"It's a Saturday night quiz/entertainment show that's going out in October. You'll either love it or hate it," he said. "It's very loud, very colourful and very camp.

Comedian Jason Byrne will be revisiting some of our celebrities embarrassing childhood snaps with his new Snaptastic show, while the station will also do its own version of cult Channel 4 hit Gogglebox. TV3 recently unveiled its new studio, where a lot of its new movie The Guarantee was filmed.


Featuring Love/Hate's Peter Coonan and David Murray, the flick written by Colin Murphy will hit cinemas in October and TV3 in November.

Exploring the events leading up to the Irish government's decision to guarantee the banks in September 2008, Coonan said they had to "spend four or five days getting lectures in economics."

"I was young, I was in college at the time so it didn't affect me personally as much as it did my father and uncles and various members of my family. So when I came into it, I was able to step back and learn about it from Colin," he said.

And the station is hoping to score massively with Irish viewers after winning the exclusive rights to air all 48 matches of next year's Rugby World Cup.

Broadcaster Anton Savage had also nabbed his own Primetime show called Get the Numbers Write.

See MOD, page 29