End failed dual-funding for RTÉ, says TV3 boss

The head of TV3 has called on the Government to end the “failed dual-funding mechanism” which allows RTÉ to earn revenue from both advertising and the TV licence fee.

David McRedmond said he failed to understand how Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte still supported such a funding model for the State broadcaster.

The TV3 chief executive highlighted how the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland had recently recommended a rebalancing between RTÉ’s public and commercial funding in its five-year review of public service broadcasting.

Speaking at the launch of TV3’s autumn schedule in the station’s state-of-the-art Sony HD studio in Dublin, Mr McRedmond said RTÉ has still suffered a deficit in 2012, despite receiving around €1bn in State funding over the past five years.

He also pointed out that regulatory authorities had forced RTÉ to disengage from anti-competitive practices in relation to advertising, while its dominance in transmission services was also now under investigation.

“The current dual funding model serves no-one, including RTÉ and the independent sector,” he said.

The country’s largest independent station, which employs 250 staff, aims to build on its growing share of the market with a range of new shows and reformed schedule that includes 2,252 hours of home-produced programmes.

TV3’s new director of content, Jeff Ford, said the schedule aim to strive a balance between informative and entertainment shows which aimed to live up to the station’s mantra — “We entertain.”

Among the new faces on the station is Today FM presenter, Anton Savage, who will anchor the first hour on the station’s popular daybreak show, Ireland AM, which is being extended by 45 minutes to run from 7am to 10.45am.

Mr Savage said that his section of the show would focus on more news analysis in response to audience wishes.

Meanwhile, broadcaster Lucy Kennedy will team up with TV3 presenter, Martin King for a new afternoon show, Late Lunch Live, although the programme will not go head-to-head with RTÉ’s Today show hosted by Maura Derrane and Daithí Ó Sé.

The Morning Show presented by Mr King and Sybil Mulcahy has been axed, with the latter moving to join Elaine Crowley as co-presenter of Midday.

TV3 is also introducing a lunchtime news bulletin which will go out at 12.45pm.

Mr Ford confirmed that TV3 would explore the possibility of working with Pat Kenny following his surprise departure from RTÉ to join Newstalk.

“He’s such a fantastic broadcaster that anyone would be interested in working with him,” said Mr Ford, who confirmed he had no contact with Mr Kenny to date.

Mr Ford also confirmed that Tallafornia wouldn’t be returning to TV3, although a spin-off to its sister station, 3e, “remained possible if the right idea is found”.

One of the highlights for the new season on 3e is Ireland’s first animated adult comedy series, Newsbag, made by the award-winning Brown Bag production company.

Popular foreign shows returning for a new season include Downton Abbey, Dallas, Dancing on Ice, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Takeaway, X Factor, The Cube, The Graham Norton Show, and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. TV3 also said it had sold 22 series to 28 countries last year.

Autumn highlights

* The Great Irish Bake Off: An Irish version of the successful BBC show presented by Anna Nolan.

* Celebrity Apprentice: Celebrities including banker, Nick Leeson; Fair City actor Maclean Burke; author Amanda Brunker and singers Frances Black and Mikey Graham, try to avoid being fired by businesswoman Caroline Downey.

* Keith Barry: Brain Hacker: The Waterford mentalist hosts six one-hourly shows of magic and illusion.

* Midwives: Six-part fly-on-the-wall documentary on staff at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles St.

* Ireland’s Black Widows: Documentary series on famous female killers in Ireland.

* At Home with the Healy-Raes: A one-hour special on life with the famous Kerry political family.

* GUBU: Two-part documentary to mark the 30th anniversary of Charles Haughey’s most controversial political period.

* Ireland by Night: Documentary series on people who work while the rest of Ireland sleeps.

* Sinn Féin: Who Are They?: Two-part documentary on the party’s transition from armed struggle to mainstream politics.

* This Island: Environmentalist, Dick Warner explores the beauty of Ireland’s coastal inhabitant, scenery and wildlife.

* Things We Love and Hate: Two one-hour shows featuring upcoming Irish stand-up comedians.

* Prison Families: Series featuring how four families cope with a relative in jail.

* The Park: A four-part documentary on a year in Killarney National Park.

* Pressure Point: A new daily quiz show where five contestants undergo the pressure of three fast-paced general knowledge rounds.

* Fact Or Fancy?: TV3’s new dating show which challenges one girl to find her ideal date from the studio audience over three rounds of questions.

* Tales of Irish Castles: Series on Ireland’s famous castles hosted by Simon Delaney.

* The Lie: New game show based on the ability to spot a lie with a top prize of €10,000.

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