TV3 is banking on the twin appeal of sport and family entertainment with the announcement today of its Spring 2018 schedule.

Programming announcements include Ireland’s Got Talent, the NatWest 6 Nations, the return of Red Rock, The Restaurant and the extension of The Tonight Show with Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates to four nights a week.

On Saturday, 3rd February viewers will see both the NatWest 6 Nations and Ireland’s Got Talent debut in a Saturday schedule double-header that will run right through the Spring.

Hosted by Joe Molloy, TV3’s NatWest 6 Nations coverage will include panellists Ronan O’Gara, Shane Horgan, Alan Quinlan, Shane Jennings and Matt Williams.

Coverage kicks off with Wales v Scotland, followed by Ireland’s first match of the tournament against France in the Stade de France. All 15 matches of the NatWest 6 Nations will be broadcast live and exclusive on TV3.

Ireland’s Got Talent will be presented by Lucy Kennedy with judges Louis Walsh, Michelle Visage, Jason Byrne and Denise Van Outen embarking on the nation’s largest ever talent search.

Also announced today, spin-off show Ireland’s Got Mór Talent will air following the main show on TV3 and will be presented by TV3’s Glenda Gilson and social media personality James Kavanagh.

The weekly show gives viewers exclusive access to all the behind the scenes gossip, unseen auditions and exclusive interviews.

This Spring on TV3 also sees the return of Red Rock. The series returns with 13 brand new episodes, commencing on 22nd January. Other drama announced today includes two-part series The Bailout, and following the success of the first series, the critically acclaimed Smalltown, starring Pat Shortt.

Marco Pierre White’s The Restaurant returns for a brand new season and this year he is joined by guest food critic, Irish celebrity chef and writer, Rachel Allen.

Alongside big Irish entertainment, TV3 Group is also showing some of the biggest UK entertainment shows including The Voice, Celebrity Big Brother, Dancing on Ice, Love Island, Survival of the Fittest, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away and The Graham Norton Show.

Sport is not just limited to the rugby as, in addition to exclusive coverage of the NatWest 6 Nations, the UEFA Champions League returns for the knock-out stages of the tournament.

Graeme Souness, Kevin Kilbane and Neil Lennon will be analysts in the studio alongside Tommy Martin for Tuesdays biggest fixtures.

Horse racing returns for the second year to TV3 with some of the biggest meetings in the racing calendar including The Cheltenham Gold Cup, Aintree Grand National and the Epsom Derby.

Clubhouse, TV3‘s rugby and entertainment show is back with a brand new line up of Mario Rosenstock and Donncha O’Callaghan at the helm.

Following its successful launch last September, The Tonight Show with Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates extends to four nights a week, Monday to Thursday, from 5th February.

Factual content is covered with the return of the True Lives documentary strand, starting 17th January.

Documentaries announced include Karen Koster’s Mammy Guilt, Paul Williams’ Ireland’s Jihadis and Joanne McNally’s Baby Hater.

“2017 was a year of records and firsts for TV3 Group as we delivered our best ever share of viewing,” said Director of Programming, Bill Malone at this morning’s launch.

“Now we aim to build on this great momentum with our most ambitious Spring schedule.”

“2018 promises to be a landmark year of big events and quality Irish content on TV3. They don’t come much bigger than rugby’s greatest championship, the NatWest 6 Nations and the world’s biggest entertainment format, Ireland’s Got Talent.”

“It will also be a year which will see us distribute our content in new and exciting ways as part of Ireland’s No. 1 connected entertainment business, Virgin Media.”