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TV3 'Virgin' rebrand confirmed at station's spring schedule launch

Ireland’s Got Talent is the main attraction in the Ballymount broadcaster’s new schedule.

Michelle Visage and Denise Van Outen of Ireland's Got Talent, alongside Ivan Yates.
Michelle Visage and Denise Van Outen of Ireland's Got Talent, alongside Ivan Yates.

Updated at 1.30pm

TV3 WILL REBRAND as Virgin Media TV in the second quarter of this year, the broadcaster’s managing director confirmed at its spring schedule launch in Dublin today.

Pat Kiely told reporters that “a very significant rebrand” would take place within the first half of the year.

“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.”

The TV3 Group of stations was bought by Liberty Global, the parent company of Virgin Media, in July 2015 for €80 million.

A year later, the company snapped up UTV Ireland for €10 million, which it rebranded as be3.

The CEO of Liberty Global revealed the rebrand plans at a media conference in New York late last year, without confirming a planned date.

“We will rebrand those broadcast networks in Ireland as Virgin and we’ll see how that works,” Mike Fries told the UBS Global Media and Communications conference in New York, the Sunday Times reported.

Spring schedule launch 

The broadcaster was giving a big push to Ireland’s Got Talent at this morning’s launch, held in Roberta’s restaurant in Temple Bar.

The Irish version of the well-tested franchise will air from Saturday 3 February, with Lucy Kennedy hosting and a judging panel of Louis Walsh, Jason Byrne, Denise Van Outen and US TV personality Michelle Visage.

A spin-off show, Ireland’s Got Mór Talent, was confirmed today – to be presented by Glenda Gilson and social media personality James Kavanagh.

The Tonight Show, fronted by Ivan Yates and Matt Cooper, will extend to four nights a week (Monday to Thursday) from Monday 5 February.

Elsewhere, Rachel Allen has been added to the lineup of the Marco Pierre White-fronted The Restaurant, and in sport the Six Nations championship comes to TV3 for the first time beginning on Saturday 3 February as Ireland take on France.

Red Rock also returns to the channel for 13 episodes from 22 January – but TV3′s head of programming Bill Malone confirmed the drama remains “on hiatus”.

TV3 revealed last August that production of the soap, which is produced by Element Pictures, was being postponed.

The drama first appeared on Irish screens in 2015 and has since been picked up in the UK by the BBC and by the Amazon Prime streaming service.

Questioned by reporters today, Malone said that no decision had been made about the show’s future.

“It’s on production hiatus but that doesn’t mean the door’s closed – it’s a very strong production.”

- With reporting from Paul Hosford 

Read: UPC Ireland buys TV3 for €80 million >

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