Belfast Telegraph

UTV spreads its wings for switch on of new channel in the Republic of Ireland

By Kirsty Blake Knox

The New Year will see the launch of a new television station in the Republic - UTV Ireland.

The move south is just the latest expansion of UTV's broadcasting empire, which has already seen significant investment in a number of radio stations in Ireland and elsewhere.

Launched in 1958, Belfast-based Ulster Television changed its brand name to UTV in 2006, reflecting a growing ambition to move outside its provincial origins.

UTV's launch south of the border is expected to have an immediate impact on TV3.

A number of that station's most popular programmes - ratings winners such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale Farm - will, from now on, be shown on UTV.

It also has exclusive rights to The Graham Norton Show.

Evening news programmes UTV Ireland Live and UTV Ireland Live at 10 will be fronted by Alison Comyn and Newstalk radio's Chris O'Donoghue and will also feature topical debate.

Elsewhere in the schedule, Lesser Spotted Journeys will follow on from the success of long running local show Lesser Spotted Ulster hosted by Joe Mahon.

And Rare Breed: A Farming Year is a 12-part series following the lives of 21 Irish farmers over the course of a year.

However, TV3 has responded by launching a new broadcasting schedule, including home-produced drama serial Red Rock.

Popular Irish broadcaster Kenny will make his first on-screen appearance on UTV Ireland tomorrow when he fronts hour long documentary Out With The Old - In With The U.

Since Kenny shocked Ireland's media scene by announcing he had joined the station, there have been several other surprising recruits with key members of staff from both TV3 and RTE joining the ranks.

TV3 lost its head of creative content David Moran and Claire Brock, while RTE saw former news reporter Paul Colgan jump ship.

UTV Ireland's Mary Curtis: It's mainly for housewives with a few kids under their belt ... I don't think any of you guys will be watching, because you actually have lives

New channel UTV Ireland will not be available to viewers in Northern Ireland 

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