24 March 2018 The Irish Film & Television Network
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TV3 Launch Spring 2018 Schedule and Confirm Virgin Rebrand
09 Jan 2018 : Nathan Griffin
Virgin Media owned broadcaster, TV3, today announced the details of its Spring 2018 schedule.

The broadcaster unveiled a host of new shows, in particular their ‘Super Saturday’ of event programming with ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’ to debut directly after Ireland’s opening ‘NatWest 6 Nations’ encounter against France on 3rd February.

In TV3’s most ambitious Spring schedule to date, programming announcements include ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’, the ‘NatWest 6 Nations’, the return of ‘Red Rock’, ‘The Restaurant’ and the extension of ‘The Tonight Show’ with Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates to four nights a week.

The rebranding of TV3 to Virgin Media Television was also confirmed at the Spring launch by TV3’s Managing Director Pat Kiely, who informed reporters that “a very significant rebrand” would take place during the first half of the year.

Speaking after the launch TV3 MD Pat Kiely said:

 “Our plans on this front will roll out in the second quarter of 2018. These developments will see our business take another giant leap forward and most importantly, mean more connections with viewers and opportunities for our advertisers.”

On Saturday, 3rd February viewers will see both the ‘NatWest 6 Nations’ and ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’ debut in a Saturday schedule double-header that will run right through Spring. 

Hosted by Joe Molloy, TV3’s ‘NatWest 6 Nations’ coverage will include panellists Ronan O’Gara, Shane Horgan, Alan Quinlan, Shane Jennings and Matt Williams. Coverage kicks off with Wales vs. Scotland, followed by Ireland’s first match of the tournament against France in the Stade de France. All 15 matches of the NatWest 6 Nations are live and exclusive on TV3.

‘Ireland’s Got Talent’ will be presented by Lucy Kennedy with judges Louis Walsh, Michelle Visage, Jason Byrne and Denise Van Outen embarking on the nation’s largest ever talent search. 

Also announced today, spin-off show ‘Ireland’s Got Mór Talent’ will air following the main show on TV3 and will be presented by TV3’s Glenda Gilson and social media personality James Kavanagh. The weekly show gives viewers exclusive access to all the behind the scenes gossip, unseen auditions and exclusive interviews.

This Spring on TV3 also sees the highly anticipated return of ‘Red Rock’.  The series returns with 13 brand new episodes, commencing on 22nd January. Other drama announced today includes two-part series ‘The Bailout’, and following the success of the first series, the critically acclaimed ‘Smalltown’, starring Pat Shortt.

Speaking after the announcement that ‘Red Rock’ would be returning, Director of Programming, Bill Malone said:

“Red Rock is one of the most successful exports in Irish television broadcast on BBC 1 and also on Amazon. It has always been standout quality and again they have raised the bar entirely this season.”

 The brand new season of ‘Red Rock’ is due to return on TV3 – Monday, January 22nd.

Marco Pierre White’s ‘The Restaurant’ returns for a brand new season and this year he is joined by guest food critic, Irish celebrity chef and writer, Rachel Allen.

Alongside big Irish entertainment, TV3 Group continues to be the exclusive broadcaster for some of the biggest UK entertainment shows including ‘The Voice, Celebrity Big Brother’, ‘Dancing on Ice’, ‘Love Island’, ‘Survival of the Fittest’, ‘Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away’ and ‘The Graham Norton Show.’  

In addition to exclusive coverage of the NatWest 6 Nations, the ‘UEFA Champions League’ returns for the knock-out stages of the tournament. Graeme Souness, Kevin Kilbane and Neil Lennon return alongside Tommy Martin in studio for Tuesdays biggest fixtures.

Horse racing returns for a second year to TV3 with some of the biggest meetings in the racing calendar including ‘The Cheltenham Gold Cup’, ‘Aintree Grand National’ and the ‘Epsom Derby’. 

‘Clubhouse’, TV3‘s rugby and entertainment show is back on our screens with a brand new line up of Mario Rosenstock and Donncha O’Callaghan at the helm.

Following its successful launch last September, ‘The Tonight Show’ with Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates extends to four nights a week, Monday to Thursday, from 5th February.

At the press launch TV3 Director of Programming, Bill Malone said that ‘The Tonight Show’ viewing figures have gone up by 30 % since Matt and Ivan had taken over the show.

Matt Cooper developed on this announcement saying:

“Politics and current affairs aren’t dull and boring, it can often be very exciting if you get the right people to talk to, and that’s what we regarded our job as being. It’s actually not as much about us, it’s about getting the best out of the guests for the audience to enjoy, and that seems to be what is happening, which is why the numbers have gone up..

We are delighted with that and our fantastic production team that have shown us the leads, that are providing us with these great guests, and hopefully we can get them on Monday night as well.”

Factual content plays a big part of TV3’s schedule this Spring, with the return of the ‘True Lives’ documentary strand, starting 17th January. Documentaries announced include ‘Karen Koster’s Mammy Guilt’, ‘Paul Williams’ Ireland’s Jihadis’ and ‘Joanne McNally’s Baby Hater’.

Director of Programming, Bill Malone, said:

“2017 was a year of records and firsts for TV3 Group as we delivered our best ever share of viewing. Now we aim to build on this great momentum with our most ambitious Spring schedule. 2018 promises to be a landmark year of big events and quality Irish content on TV3. They don’t come much bigger than rugby’s greatest championship, the NatWest 6 Nations and the world’s biggest entertainment format, Ireland’s Got Talent. It will also be a year which will see us distribute our content in new and exciting ways as part of Ireland’s No. 1 connected entertainment business, Virgin Media.”

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