RTÉ Lifestyle

Head of Lifestyle: Grainne McAleer

Executive Producer: Teresa Smith

Updated: Friday 20th February 2015



These are Factual Entertainment and formatted programmes for the pre and post-watershed slots on both RTE ONE and RTÉ2.

Every slot has different requirements, targets and audiences but what all Lifestyle programmes have in common is the mission to engage and entertain while also informing.

Frequently lifestyle is in the business of reflecting the lives of our participants as well as creating a compelling television. Unlike Documentaries of other Factual areas, we involve ourselves with people, their businesses, their careers and their communities. Many of our best programmes make a real difference and don't feel contrived or needlessly artificial. Programmes like Operation Transformation, Room to Improve and At Your Service have become welcome staples in the RTE ONE menu.

We have also had recent successes with observational series like The Shelbourne, Pet Island and Connected all of which reflect new and sometimes quirky aspects of contemporary Irish life.


We are looking for formats for both RTE ONE and RTÉ2. Our preference is for original formats, designed primarily for an Irish audience and possible around the skills and expertise of particular presenters. We are also interested in formats that have worked elsewhere and which we think would work for our audience. Pilots can come through Format Farm or ideas may go straight to Commission.

The majority of our slots are half-hour pre-watershed on RTE ONE and 50 minute, post-watershed on RTÉ2. We have limited opportunity to develop post-watershed formats for ONE and most of these will come through funding mechanisms such as the BAI.


Format Farm - We are looking for proposals for programmes that would be suitable to pilot through Format Farm. These should be Factual Entertainment formats and we are primarily interested in half-hours for RTE ONE and hour-long formats for RTÉ2. We have some flexibility in durations but would prefer programmes that would work in our most available slots.



On RTÉ One, we need new formats with strong talent. It's really difficult to establish a brand new idea in the schedule and if you want something to take root for the long-term it has a far better chance of doing so with talent an audience can buy into. Experts like Dermot Bannon, Francis Brennan, Eddie Hobbs and Eva Orsmonde have all given generously in terms of their expertise but also their personality. All have an angle on their speciality and a desire to communicate. And all have a sense of humour. We haven't had a stand out expert in a while and we need to find a new one. As well as finding an expert for a format we need to be open to shaping a format around a personality. David Brophy lit up our screens last year in High Hopes Choir and we don't necessarily have the right format for him yet in 2015.

While most of our shows rely on experts who are strong presenters, occasionally we need strong traditional presenters but here too our audience responds to distinctiveness, personality and humour. Angela Scanlon is bringing lots of personality to Getaways and presenters with attitude and humour like Jennifer Maguire and Maya Dunphy could be a breath of fresh air on RTÉ ONE.

In lifestyle we like to be ahead or at least abreast of the national mood and we feel there's a change in the air. Lifestyle is shunning austerity. We want hopeful, positive programmes that aren't afraid of aspiration and a bit of fantasy. Two of our biggest successes last year were The Shelbourne and Room to Improve.

We also want to stay true to what we're best at which is giving the audience strong, human stories and presenters who actually engage with participants over time. As the recession fades from the foreground, our audience has shown it's capacity to engage with issues through well told stories and The High Hopes Choir was tonally perfect for Christmas 2014.


Mid-week 20.30

6*25 Autumn 2016, 45k an episode.

There are two slots in the Autumn for mid-week 20.30. These may be commissioned from Lifestyle but could also come from other genres.

We are open to new fomats in any area but are particularly interested in new approaches to Health, Consumer Issues, Business and Property. Stories which cleverly knit together the individual and community, have always worked well for us so that's still of interest. New formats need to be able to sit alongside popular staples like Operation Transformation, At Your Service and Room to Improve.

No format for 20.30 can be niche. Don't send anything in that isn't capable of attracting a large audience which includes ALL age-groups.

We are no longer afraid of luxury and as Consumer power strengthens again, we would also like to look at formats which aim to highlight, name and shame rogue services, trades and consumables.

We're open to fixed rig formats, where appropriate, and to observational docs. Obviously though the subject, as well as the characters have to be riveting, the series has to be suitable for pre-watershed viewing and able to work on a number of levels.

The right talent can inspire a format and the right local talent can bring an international format to life for an Irish audience. The importance of strong talent in a crowded schedule can't be overstated.

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
under the programme category "Lifestyle Midweek 20.30"

Deadline is Friday 13th March at 12 noon


Format Farm

This is a useful development tool for Lifestyle slots. Suitable submissions, which have potential for international sales as well as to fill one of our slots may be recommended and moved to Format Farm.



Lifestyle has commissioned a number of series and one-offs for RTÉ2. Amongst these are The Unemployables, Then Comes Marriage, Bressie's Teenage Kicks, Drunk, Connected, Norah's Traveller Academy and Don't Tell the Bride.

Programmes for RTÉ2 have to be either entertaining or Provocative and will preferably be both. They must be engaging, informative and reflect the society in which we live but unless they are made with the pace, production values and personality that are expected by the key 18 - 35 year old demographic, they will not cut through with this audience.


6*60 mins, post-watershed, Autumn 2015 (deadline March 13th), 85k

6*60 mins, post-watershed, January 2016, 85k

Don't Tell the Bride has been a staple in the RTE 2 schedule for many years but we need more staples. We need to build new formats that are capable of becoming lynchpins of the schedule on mid-week nights on 2. We need producers to really focus on the pre-occupations and preferences for this age- group. Programmes need to reflect these and we need programmes that offer plenty in terms of talkability and social engagement. New faces are important but so too are surprising formats for existing RTE 2 talent. Last year Eoin McDermott presented Drunk and Jennifer Maguire moved over to a Fact Ent format in the form of The Unemployables. Are there formats, either new or acquired, that could make even better use of some of our existing talent?

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
under the programme category "Lifestyle Autumn 2015"

Deadline is Friday 13th March at 12 noon

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
under the programme category "Lifestyle January 2016"


January 2016, contestable.

6*30, post-watershed, January 2016, contestable.

Deadline- ongoing

We are also looking for series that would work post-watershed in half hours. These might be observational documentary series, they may come be developed from a successful Reality Bites or they may be a new consumer, health or food based formats. Bear in mind though that they must feel right post-watershed and that therefore the subject and approach should feel more adult and definitely more provocative. We are really interested in taking risks and definitely not afraid to shock and provoke an audience at this time.

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
under the programme category "Lifestyle January 2016 contestable"


Reality Bites

10*60 55k (These will be sourced from various genres)

Lifestyle has a number of Reality Bites in production for RTÉ2 schedule. These are The Gun Show - a look at the new obsession with the perfectly defined male torso, The Verminators, following two pest control companies and Camden Chaos, a week in the life of a very busy street.

We are interested in any programme that experiments with new talent or brand new subject matter. We are particularly interested in documentaries that can subsequently be scaled up to 6 part series'. We also see Reality Bites as a way in which production companies can discover and mentor new production talent. While traditional documentaries produced to an RTE 2 pace and style are welcome, as are strong vehicles for existing and new presenting talent, we'd really like to see fresh approaches to story-telling and far more and innovate use of user-generated and self-shot material. Reality Bites really can be a teething ground for new documentary talent as well as new presenters and formats.

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
under the programme category "Lifestyle Reality Bites"

Deadline Thursday 12th March at 12 noon.


Please note budget ranges are indicative only, and proposals that can achieve lower costs per hour will be particularly attractive'.


Please note:

The discussion of, or initial interest in, a proposal does not represent a commitment to commission by RTÉ and should not be understood as such. Commissioning decisions will reflect the quality of proposals received and the scheduling priorities operating at the time. RTÉ's financial position will also be a factor.

Any proposals previously submitted to RTÉ in categories listed here, and which were rejected on a first reading in a previous Round, should not be re-submitted and will not be reconsidered.


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