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TV3-poached Fitzpatrick to re-ivigorate channel
RTE this week announced that Andrew Fitzpatrick has been appointed Director of Scheduling, Television, with particular responsiblity for Network 2. Poached from TV3, he is replacing Andrew Burns who left in rather acrimonious circumstances (which we aren't going to get into here - do an archive search on www.ireland.com to find out more). Burns was responsible for creating the N2 branding four years ago, and the scheduling innovations such as the Monday Comedy Night, the revamped News 2 bulittens, theme weekends, as well as an increase in new commissions, mainly the Later on Two strand. While the Monday Comedy Nights is still going strong, other parts of the channel are looking rather tired. The branding has lost much of its shine - News 2 had to be revamped recently - Later on 2 (what's left of it) was poached by RTE ONE, and Don't Feed the Gondalas is likely not to win a fifth season after the departure of Sean Moncrieff and Dara O'Briain. Worst of all, N2 is getting rather close to becoming the fourth most popular channel, as UTV and TV3 both beat it regularly in peak-time. TV3 now has a far stronger schedule than N2 since the Granada buy-in. It remains to see how Fitzpatrick's N2 will differ from Burn's, and how it will fight back against TV3's surge in popularity in the past three months.
Meanwhile RTE has announced that it will run a new "reality TV" programme, based on the formats of BBC's Castaway 2000 and Channel 4's Big Brother. Treasure Island will feature a group of sixteen castaways on a South Pacific Island who will complete a set of tasks. Each week a contestant will be evicted by phone poll. You can apply to be a contestant on www.rte.ie/treasureisland