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Pat Stacey: RTE's new schedule leaves me cold as the weather

If you recently endured RTE's "cracking" (their words, not mine) Christmas schedule, you'll know that a gushing press release from the national broadcaster is not worth the spittle-flecked paper it's written on.

But if you thought Christmas offered a collection of cold turkeys, wait until you see the bleak winter of programming RTE has lined up for us in the weeks and months to come.

Actually, you don't have to wait all that long, because the first taste of it comes tonight.

Music Changes (RTE1) is a series giving an "inspirational insight into the transformative power of music" among schoolchildren. In other words, a cheap, fly-on-the-blackboard series not a million miles removed from The School, another cheap, fly-on-the-blackboard series that premiered last night.

Pooper

If your brain wasn't fried to a crisp by too much booze, rich food and bad television over the festive season, you might recall that RTE made comedy its top priority. Well, brace yourself -- there's more of the same to come.

Thursday sees the start of That's All We Have Time For, a topical comedy quiz featuring Barry Murphy, Mario Rosenstock and that master of mirth Kevin Myers. I hate to be a party pooper, but haven't we been here already with The Panel?

If that doesn't tickle your fancy, Katherine Lynch, a woman whose meteoric rise to fame is as much of a nasty surprise to some of us as Sputnik was to Nasa, is back with a fresh series of stale stereotypes in Single Ladies. Can't you just hear your ribs cracking already?

It's not all a barrel of laughs, though. Stone Cold Sober does exactly what it says on the beer can by following six men (but not following them to the pub, obviously) as they try to give up drinking.

Imaginative

Drink, however, and the stronger the better, is what you're going to need on Saturday nights.

RTE recently said it wouldn't be queering Ryan Tubridy's pitch by commissioning another Saturday night show. So, put your hands together for The Saturday Night Show (who came up with that imaginative title?), hosted by Brendan O'Connor.

But it's not all bad news. Charlie Bird, long believed MIA in Washington without a map, a microphone or a mobile, has been located.

Charlie Bird's American Year is a two-part account of the Birdman of Montrose's first 365 days in his new job.

Generous, don't you think? I mean, President Barack Obama only had 100 days before he had to start answering the tough questions.


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