RTÉ have responded to reports that Ireland’s Fittest Family is set to be axed.
Rumours had been rife that the broadcaster was set to cancel the fan-favourite show, following the recent shelving of Ultimate Hell Week.
An insider previously told The Irish Sun: “It’s a meltdown — Ultimate Hell Week, Dancing With The Stars, now Ireland’s Fittest Family. These are all big expensive shows that RTE can no longer afford any to make.”
However, RTÉ have since dispelled rumours the show, which is currently in its tenth season, has already been cancelled.
A spokesperson for RTÉ said: “Ireland’s Fittest Family has proved hugely popular with viewers again this season. The nail-biting finale airs this weekend on RTÉ One, followed by a celeb special and Best Bits special – both set to air over the Christmas schedule.”
“As this series is yet to conclude, RTÉ won’t be making a decision in relation to next season until next year.”
Speaking to Kieran Cuddihy on Monday evening’s Newstalk, chief executive of ShinAwil Larry Bass said: “RTÉ’s in a really difficult place, their costs are increasing like every other business… I’m sure RTE’s costs are no different.”
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“They’re gonna have to look at where they prioritise their spending,” Larry continued.
“Obviously, ShinAwil is known for doing high-end entertainment, but we also do factual entertainment shows; like Home of the Year and Dancing With The Stars are two of the shows that we have produced for RTÉ and both of those shows are increasingly more expensive to make.”
“You can’t make it [in the industry] with constantly cutting. We’ve been living with no license fee increase in Ireland. The inevitable will be if there’s no Irish content, we won’t be watching Irish content as Irish viewers.”
“I firmly believe there is higher value to a programme being made in the independent sector and that’s just the nature of broadcasting around the world,” he continued.
“Broadcasters are increasingly shrinking – they’re looking at putting more of their resources into the broadcasting of their programmes rather than the making of them.”
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The rumours that RTÉ were set to shelf Ireland’s Fittest Family came just weeks after producers of Ultimate Hell Week announced the fan-favourite show had been axed.
In addition to this, reports have suggested that the upcoming series of Dancing With The Stars will finish its run on RTÉ early next year, after six seasons on air.
According to the Irish Sun, the broadcaster only signed a one-season deal with the show’s production company ShinAwil, and it’s not expected to return in 2024.
An insider previously told the outlet: “Dancing With The Stars is just too expensive for RTE. The national broadcaster is facing into a recession with a drop in ad revenue and has to budget accordingly.”
In response to the reports, RTÉ told Independent.ie that it “does not comment on contractual agreements”.
“We look forward to Dancing with the Stars returning to RTÉ One in 2023,” the broadcaster added at the time.