A new series of Ireland’s Got Talent, the return of soap opera Red Rock and a bumper season of live sport are on the agenda in Virgin Media Television’s spring schedule, announced on Tuesday.
The channel said it would broadcast more live sport than ever before this spring with the return of the Heineken Champions Cup, the Guinness Six Nations, Uefa Champions League, Uefa Europa League and the biggest racing festivals, including Cheltenham and Aintree.
“Irish content and drama will continue to lead the way with the highly anticipated return of Red Rock, promising to be the most dramatic and explosive season yet, with a superintendent spiralling out of control and the smitten Keith Kiely being pulled deep into the underbelly of crime,” said Virgin Media Television.
Ireland’s Got Talent judges Louis Walsh, Denise Van Outen, Michelle Visage and Jason Byrne return to find Ireland’s next big star.
Meanwhile, on Ireland’s Got Mór Talent, Lucy Kennedy, Glenda Gilson and James Kavanagh will provide the backstage gossip and unseen auditions from the top show, as well as exclusive interviews.
Love Island UK returns alongside a brand new Love Island USA and Love Island Australia airing on Virgin Media Two.
Gogglebox Ireland will return for six special episodes, with families across Ireland treated to vintage television shows from across the decades, from the 80s to the 90s.
New True Lives documentaries include Paedophile Hunters, Missing: Fiona Sinnott, about the young woman who went missing in Wexford in 1998 aged 19, and Donncha O’Callaghan’s Afterlife. Virgin Media One will also broadcast a number of brand new documentary series including Inside Ireland’s Biggest Prison, Fota Island and Doctor in the House.
Sport is centre stage in the schedule and Virgin Media Television’s live rugby returns this weekend with Joe Molloy, Shane Horgan, Shane Jennings, and Alan Quinlan covering the Heineken Champions Cup as Leinster clash with Toulouse.
The Champions Cup Final in Newcastle on May 11th will be broadcast live on free-to-air television on Virgin Media One.
The Guinness Six Nations is back on screens in February, as Joe Schmidt’s side defend their Grand Slam title. All 15 matches will be live on Virgin Media One.
Graeme Souness, Niall Quinn, Kevin Kilbane, Keith Andrews and Brian Kerr will head up the panel of experts, alongside Tommy Martin in studio for coverage of the knock-out stages of the Uefa Champions League and the Uefa Europa League.
The Uefa Champions League and the Uefa Europa League Finals will be live on Virgin Media One, with all knock-out stage matches and the finals on Virgin Media Sport.
Virgin Media Sport will also broadcast the Euro 2020 qualifiers, with the first of sixty live games in March. In June, it will broadcast the Uefa Nations League finals featuring England, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland.
Virgin Media Television said it would also continue to support the Irish film and drama industry, with a season of Irish movie and feature films to coincide with the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, which runs from 23rd February to 3rd March.
Speaking at a press conference in Dublin, Virgin Media Television’s director of programming, Bill Malone, said the company had a record year in 2018 with its best ever share of viewership, up seven per cent on the previous year.
He said this year, it aimed to continue the “success story” with a schedule defined by quality Irish programming and big-brand TV.