Two of Ireland’s most popular family TV shows are facing the ax as RTÉ budget cuts are set to bite, it was reported on Sunday evening.
Ireland’s Fittest Family is set to be the next primetime show due to major broadcaster cuts.
This comes after RTÉ Ultimate week from hell has been canned, with the next season of Dancing With The Stars likely to be the show’s last.
A TEN the source said: “These are all big, expensive shows that RTÉ can no longer afford to do.”
The shows are family favorites and achieve great ratings successes, regularly attracting a million viewers.
They are expected to be phased out as the national broadcaster battles to balance its budget by drastically cutting costs.
Ultimate Hell Week fans only found out that the series went on hiatus on the night of the finale last October in a statement from the producers.
The Fittest Family semi-finals in Ireland aired over the weekend, with an announcement not expected until after the final later this month. The hugely popular show was created from a format developed by hurling legend Clare Davy Fitzgerald and his friend James Sexton.
Mr. Fitzgerald, along with fellow coaches Anna Geary, Donncha O’Callaghan and Nina Carberry, put families to the test on tough courses. The show is hosted by Mairéad Ronan.
An industry source argued that the elimination of three huge prime-time shows was a station practice as well as a cost-cutting measure, it was reported Sunday.
Montrose’s top brass were ordered to cut costs to balance the books. “Dancing With The Stars returns in 2023, but it’s been cut to the bone,” an insider said on Sunday.
‘And this season of Dancing With The Stars will definitely be the last season. Producers can stretch a tight budget, being studio-based, but shows like Ultimate Hell Week and Ireland’s Fittest Family, filmed on location, have to go.
Show boss Larry Bass warned in June that creating programs was not viable for the independent production sector because RTÉ had not had a license fee increase since 2008. He said said, “We should cut budgets to air future shows.” It is unbearable.
“Dancing With The Stars is a big, expensive show that attracts viewers of all ages. We get great ratings, but people have to remember that public service TV costs money.
“If RTÉ doesn’t get a license fee increase, it won’t just be Dancing With The Stars that will be in trouble.
“The Irish are buying bigger TVs, but we’re heading to a point where Irish TV is falling off a cliff.” RTÉ did not comment on the report.