Virgin Media Televisionhas unveiled its new season of programming with four original and returning Irish drama series announced, a major focus on live sport, a host of new entertainment and factual series, eight hours of live studio content every week day and more news content than any other Irish TV station.

It was an impressive line up of stars from each of those areas that turned up for today’s launch and were happy to mingle with those of us who watch from the other side of the screen.

Adrian Dunbar returns for season two of the acclaimed series Blood, a programme that did well for the station in terms of internatinal sales.

Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee has written her first television thriller in The Deceived whileMark O’Connor, the creative force behind Cardboard Gangsters brings Dublin’s gangland to the small screen in the shape of Darkland.

That will go head to toe with RTÉ’s Dublin Murders as the lines blur between the end of the news bulletins and the start of the drama.

Red Rock also returns for what is billed as a gripping and deadly conclusion in the two-parter: Red Rock: The Finale.

Sport

Viewers will be able to watch more top quality sport than ever before with the UEFA Champions League & UEFA Europa League, EURO 2020 Qualifiers, Heineken’s Champions Cup Rugby, The Six Nations and the best of UK horseracing including the Cheltenham and Aintree Grand National Festivals.

A new sports news programme will launch this season each Monday and Friday on Virgin Media One.

Virgin Media Sport Tonight will combine the sports news of the day with opinion on the big sporting issues from a panel of expert guests.

The station will show around 400 matches from Europe throughout the season and have held onto the very talented and popular line up of Brian Kerr, Graeme Souness and Neil Lennon alongside Tommy Martin.

Living With Lucy

Lucy Kennedy is back with another series of Living with Lucy, bringing viewers to homes of the stars including Gráinne Seoige’s home in South Africa and Barry Keoghan’s hangout in Hollywood.

Real life crime and policing also features strongly this season with unprecedented access to the workings of Garda District K in the brand new series Inside The Guards, while Prison Breaks looks at life behind bars and entrepreneurship to see if criminal minds can be turned into business brains.

In support of the Irish creative sector, Virgin Media has brought content creators and some of the biggest international distributors together to bring a number of new Irish formats to the international stage.

Partner

This initiative has resulted in the station partnering with A+E Networks for a new format Generation Dating and with BBC Worldwide for new Irish formats, OAP B&B and First Loves.

Other Irish formats that feature in the new season include Rich Man’s World and the return of Marco Pierre White’s The Restaurant.

Gogglebox Ireland is back for another series while Love Island is already signed up to fill the screens and the social media feeds.

John Bishop goes on a road trip around the country in John Bishop’s Ireland. Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions kicks off this Saturday and sees past contestants compete to be crowned the ultimate champion.

There will be an original sci-fi series The Rook which tells the story of a young woman pursued by shadowy paranormal adversaries.

News and Current Affairs

In current affairs, The Tonight Show returns with Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates.

With Brexit looming large Pat Kenny also returns with Pat Kenny’s Big Debate.

Speaking at today’s launch in Studio 2 at Virgin Media Television, Bill Malone, Director of Content said:

“The past twelve months has seen us build great momentum at Virgin Media Television. This comes on the back of significant investment in our people, studios and infrastructure, ensuring that we are ideally placed to connect with and grow our audience into the future, be it on TV or on demand.”

“Today we announce a schedule with more news, more sport, more Irish drama, more Irish made programming and more investment in Irish content than ever before. And that is set to increase further as we build connections with international distributors to launch new Irish formats with global ambition”.

The only problem we all face is where to find the time to watch the amount of quality programming emerging.

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