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TV3 Hold On To Key ITV Weekend Entertainment Shows

In the light of UTV's acquisition of the Irish rights to key ITV soaps TV3 have announced that they will continue to hold the rights to major ITV programmes such as The X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. TV3 have signed a 3 year deal with FremantleMedia, ending speculation that UTV would also target such shows from the ITV schedules.

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The deal includes Family Fortunes, Take Me Out, X Factor US, The X Factor, American Idol and Through the Keyhole. TV3 bosses were quick to announce the acquisitions at a special event held for the advertising industry. At the event Jeff Ford, TV3 Director of Content, said "Both The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent are huge ratings winners for TV3 so it is a fantastic result for us to secure the rights to these family oriented shows. They play a very important part in complementing the rest of the TV3 programming schedule."

Justin Hatfield, Senior Vice President of Sales Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia, who brokered the deal with TV3 said: “We’re delighted that TV3 has renewed its contract with FremantleMedia and that Irish audiences will continue to enjoy these well-loved hit formats.”

TV3 also announced that it had made a deal with NBC/Universal for the rights to Downton Abbey for the lifetime of the series.

This will mean that the main ITV schedule will be divided between UTV and TV3 in the Republic of Ireland, with weekdays largely held by UTV and weekends largely held by TV3.

The next big fight for rights will be in the sports arena as UEFA have yet to announce Irish broadcasters for UEFA Champions League and The Europa Cup. Currently Irish rights are divided between TV3, RTÉ and Setanta Sports, however last month BT Sports made a significant bid for the UK rights to these games out bidding both ITV and Sky the current rights holders.