BROADCASTER Vincent Browne is to anchor TV3’s new late-night television news and current affairs show from November 5.
Announcing the autumn schedule yesterday, his new bosses could hardly contain their glee at having landed Mr Browne following a "prolonged courtship".
Earlier this summer — after more than a decade — Tonight with Vincent Browne on RTÉ Radio 1 was axed by Montrose chiefs.
Mr Browne said he is "nervously" looking forward to the challenge presented by hosting his new 40-minute live television show from Monday to Thursday.
"It’s new to me, I’ve relatively little experience of television," he said. "It’s interesting.
"I think we might be able to do something different. The arrangement is fairly flexible as of now and we’ll be able to try things out, I hope, and see what works."
Director of news Andrew Hanlon described Mr Browne’s arrival at the station as "a great coup for TV3".
"As you know, we’re revamping the whole late-night news programme. I think what’s going to make it unique is that it’s not just news but news/current affairs — now that we’ve got Vincent.
"You will also get your news bulletin, but then you will have Vincent being the big inquisitor with the big news makers of the day.
"In addition to that we are hiring two news correspondents to work on the programme. They will be providing background analysis pieces on the big stories of the day," said Mr Hanlon.
In journalism since 1958, Mr Browne used the launch of the Fianna Fáil 2007 election manifesto to publicly tackle Taoiseach Bertie Ahern about his private finances now under the Mahon Tribunal spotlight.
TV3 chief executive officer David McRedmond said the station was entering a new phase and over the next three years would develop it into "a real alternative to state-funded broadcasting".
Director of programming Ben Frow introduced the new season schedule as one that was bigger and richer than ever, with "texture and depth".
"Most importantly, it is a schedule that has more Irish origination than ever.
"Be it Xpose or Me and the Big C, origination is something that I am particularly passionate about, and something that I, and my team, are dedicated to providing over the next 12 months," he said.
Me and the Big C is a powerful fly-on-the-wall documentary focusing on the lives of Irish people dealing with cancer.
Crime journalist Paul Williams tells the success story of the Criminal Assets Bureau in another documentary series. Award-winning crime journalist Donal MacIntyrne probes the gangster underworld with a three-part documentary.
Grassroots of the GAA is a six-part series and is about the dedicated promotion of Gaelic games by ordinary people.
Paradise Pictures is producing a follow-up to the popular Diary of a Debutante where the six subjects include a groom, beauty queen and a wannabe star.
TV3 is also serving up sex ancient and modern — from The Tudors, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII, to David Duchovny and Irish actress Natascha McElhone in US drama Californication.
A new drama series Rock Rivals, scheduled for early 2008, "promises a combination of wild characters and fast-paced plots set against a world of ruthless ambition".
TV3 has exclusive terrestrial rights offering national coverage for all of Ireland’s rugby World Cup games, plus the opening France v Argentina game, two quarter-finals, both semi-finals and the final.
For Spurs football fans, the station has exclusive rights to all Tottenham’s home games in the Uefa Cup.