TV3 Ireland

TV3 Ireland

Infobox TV channel
name= TV3 Ireland
logofile= Tv3ie2006.jpg
logoalt= TV3 logo
launch= 20 September 1998
share= 12.9%
share as of= 2005
share source= []
owner= Doughty Hanson
country= Ireland
former names=
web= []
terr serv 1 = Irish analogue
terr chan 1 = "Normally tuned to 3"
standard= PAL I standard
terr serv 2 = Irish digital
terr chan 2 = Mux 1
sat serv 1 = SCTV Digital
sat chan 1 = channel 103
sat serv 2 = Sky Digital
sat chan 2 = channel 103
cable serv 1 = UPC Ireland
cable chan 1 = channel 103
adsl serv 1 = Magnet Entertainment
adsl chan 1 = channel 103
adsl serv 2 = Smart Vision
adsl chan 2 = ?

TV3 Ireland was the first independent television channel in Ireland, entirely funded by revenue from advertising. It launched on 20 September 1998. "TV3 Television Network Limited" is currently owned by European-based private equity firm Doughty Hanson & Co. since the end of August 2006. The main studios of TV3 are located in Ballymount, Dublin. The channel broadcasts from 06.00 to around 02.00 each day.


Initial idea and setbacks

TV3, which was intended to be Ireland's third terrestrial channel, took almost ten years to bring from initial planning to debut. In October 1988 the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) was created to regulate new independent stations. The original TV3 licence to broadcast was granted in 1990 to a consortium including members of U2 and the owner of the Windmill Lane Studios where the group had made many of their records. Because of delays in setting up the station, the licence was revoked by the IRTC. After a court battle, the licence was eventually restored in 1993.

At this stage, an agreement was made to sell 49% of the company to UTV, the ITV franchise in Northern Ireland, to raise much-needed cash for investment in facilities. However, as TV3 were trying to convince Irish cable and MMDS carriers to replace UTV with their channel, the new shareholders pulled out in 1995. Given that UTV had the third largest audience in the Republic, the carriers declined to drop them in favour of TV3. The result was that the project was on hold again. In 1997, CanWest, decided to step in and buy a major stake in the new company.

Launch and development

TV3 finally took to the air on 20 September 1998 at 17:30. A preview of the station's programming formed the first half-hour of transmissions, followed by the first TV3 News at 18:00. As TG4 (then called 'Teilifís na Gaeilge') had been broadcasting for almost two years, "this" was the third Irish station; TV3 became, in fact, the "fourth" television station and first station which was not publicly funded, by tax or licence fees. TV3's initial on-air branding referred to the station as 'tvthree'. Although this is still part of the corporate logo, it no longer appears on screen. The Schoolhouse Rock! song, "Three Is A Magic Number", is the station's theme tune, played every day during start-up and close-down; this same tune was also used by BBC Three as its theme tune.

In September 2000, Granada Media plc (a predecessor company of ITV plc which then owned six ITV franchises) agreed to acquire 45% of the company from the original TV3 consortium. This was part of deal which gave TV3 the right to simulcast with ITV certain Granada programming. The Granada plc shareholding was taken over by ITV plc upon the merger of Granada with Carlton on 2 February 2004.

In early 2001, the station officially launched threetext, the teletext service, much of the content from Thomas Crosbie Media. Test transmissions of this service commenced in late 2000, but as early as 1999 limited programming content was provided. However, in 2004, the news and sports were dropped as part of a rebranding to an 'entertainment portal'.

On 16 January 2006, Canwest announced to TV3 staff, that it was selling its stake in the channel, [RTÉ: [ Canwest to sell share in TV3] , 16 January 2006.] in an effort to reduce its debt, resulting in it leaving the European market. A purchaser for this stake for (for €103 million), rights to buy ITV Plc's stake (for €103 million), and the remaining 10% (for €59 million) was announced on 19 May as Doughty Hanson & Co, a venture capital firm who are believed to be operating on the behalf of another firm. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. [The Irish Times, 24 August 2006] The channel began broadcasting in widescreen format on Sky Digital from 6 March 2006 and subsequently on UPC in 2007 .

As of 1 October 2008, TV3's website has relaunched. The new site offers catch-up facilities of acquired programming, as well as running its own shows, with additional content from style and gossip show Xposé likely to be available. [cite news |title = TV3 chief slams dual funding of RTE |url = |publisher = "The Sunday Business Post" |date = 2008-09-21 ]

Analogue rollout

When TV3 went on the air in September 1998 they were broadcast only from the existing RTÉ main transmission sites and from three relays serving Cork and Limerick cities. Since then they have not bothered to add any rural relays to their network. This results in widespread "pockets" throughout the country being unable to receive the channel. These pockets can include large towns, such as Youghal, Co. Cork and Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Local community TV broadcasters have mitigated this situation somewhat by including TV3 in their service, but due to their low power these transmitters are unable to cover each and every pocket. RTÉ have been criticised for ignoring rural Ireland in their programming, while TV3 doesn't even transmit to it.

Irish Produced Programming

TV3 programming has often been criticized for having no "distinctive, clearly Irish identity". [Irish Independent: [ TV3: lots of Heartbeat, but there's little pulse] , 21 January 2006.] In spring 2008, a major effort was made by the station to change this situation. €10 million was invested by the station in Irish produced programming for its autumn 2008 schedule.

News and current affairs

Ireland AM has been on air since 1999 and is the only live breakfast television programme in Ireland. Broadcast on weekdays from 07:00 to 10:00, it includes regular news updates on the hour and half-hour, but is mainly features and lifestyle based. The show is currently presented by original presenter Mark Cagney and Sinead Desmond.

On Weekdays TV3 News consists of three main bulletins - Midday, News @ 5.30 and Nightly News. The news team includes Alan Cantwell, Colette Fitzpatrick, Elaine Crowley and Vincent Browne, as well as weather presenter Martin King.

Airing at 17:00 on Sunday, The Political Party is a politically-themed chat show, hosted by TV3's political editor Ursula Halligan. The guest list is unpredictable, and ranges from prominent political figures to church and business leaders.


TV3 also produces a sports round-up programme called Sports Tonight which is broadcast at 23.40 on weeknights. Other original sports programming includes match analysis and commentary for the UEFA Cup football matches that the station broadcasts. In 2008 the station began broadcasting a selection of GAA All-Ireland Championship matches, as well as a weekly preview show called "Championship Throw In". The station also aired coverage of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. It has also gained the rights for tuesday night games in the UEFA Champions League from the 2009/2010 season.


Xposé, hosted by Lorraine Keane, began airing on 16 April 2007. It is an entertainment and celebrity focused show airing weeknights at 18.00. Beauty tips, fashion segments and celebrity interviews are the main components of the show.

The Apprentice is a localised version of the original Donald Trump reality series, which started broadcasting in autumn 2008.

Midday, is TV3's first home-produced live daily chat show and takes a lighter look at the everyday issues of viewers, ranging from grocery prices to childcare and healthcare and anything in between. Its weekday programme began its first season in September 2008. It is hosted by Alan Cantwell, Colette Fitzpatrick and Martin King with guests from Irish and UK TV, radio and others. Previous efforts into Irish made television include the short run "The Dunphy Show" (2003), fronted by Eamon Dunphy, which was built up to be a contender with RTÉ's "The Late Late Show". In spite of the flurry of media attention, The Dunphy Show's failed to perform to expectations, and was cancelled a few weeks before the initial season was due to conclude. For the Autumn 2005 season, TV3 announced a new midweek talk show which was hosted by Brendan Courtney, which lasted for only one series.

"Popcorn", which regularly billed itself as "Ireland's favourite movie show" ran for 5 years and over 200 episodes before the axe fell - giving an irreverent look at the movie releases, both at the cinema and on DVD. An early attempt at reality television by the station was "The Box", fronted by Keith Duffy.


"School Run" is an upcoming drama, made in Ireland for TV3. It will be the first original Irish drama shown by the station. The Tudors is made in Ireland for HBO, but shown by TV3. Another series, Rock Rivals, was filmed in Ireland for ITV in the UK and shown by the station in early 2008.


In early 2008, TV3 made a serious effort to produce more Irish programming in response to critism of its schedule. Factual programmes launched as part of this change included "Me and The Big C", charting different people's struggle with cancer; "Inside and Out", a makeover show hosted by Sinead O' Carroll; "Dirty Money: The Story of the Criminal Assets Bureau", a crime documentary fronted by Paul Williams and "Diary of..." which followed six people as they went through life-changing events.

The autumn 2008 schedule continued this trend, with several Irish produced series including "Now Then: How the Irish Have Sex", "CCTV Cities" with Donal MacIntyre, "Living With Murder" , presented by Maura Derrane, and "Corrupt" - examining corruption in Ireland.


TV3 is currently broadcasting a home-produced version of the international hit show "The Apprentice", hosted by Bill Cullen. The show, which is similar to the BBC version, sees fourteen contestants battling it out to become the next apprentice. The show was criticised before even being broadcast, as another failed attempt of a popular international reality show, however, the show has attracted massive viewership, and the show is receiving much media attention in Ireland; also, many of the negative comments have been retracted by the press, who have continued to praise the show for its high entertainment quality.Fact|date=October 2008

Imported programming

In its early years, the station aired a large amount of US programmes such as "Sex and the City", "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Just Shoot Me". TV3 also simulcast EastEnders from 1998 to 2000. Following its aquistion of a 45% share in the station in 2000, Granada allowed TV3 to simulcast several of its programmes including soaps like Coronation Street and Emmerdale as well as drama series such as Bad Girls and Footballer's Wives.

ITV reality shows including The X Factor, Dancing on Ice, I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and Britain's Got Talent are also simulcast on the station. American Idol has been broadcast on TV3 quite close to its American airing for several years now.

With regards to its daytime schedule, TV3's programming mainly consists of repeats of Coronation Street and Emmerdale, as well as UK lifestyle shows such as "What Not to Wear", "How Clean is Your House?" and "The Jeremy Kyle Show".

TV3 Television Network

This network consists of

* TV3
* Channel 6: Acquisition of Channel 6; On 16 May 2008, it was reported by RTÉ News, that Channel 6 was in discussions about a possible sale of the company to TV3 for a sum of approximately €10 million. The same report also suggested that Channel 6 had been in talks with a number of other possible buyers. [ [ RTÉ Business: TV3 won't comment on Channel 6 report

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