RTÉ Television's summer schedule has proved a hit with audiences with more than half a million viewers tuning in each night.

The mix of brand-new series and new editions of returning series has attracted average audiences of 520,000 viewers each evening from 6-11.30pm across RTÉ One and Two.

This represents an increase in audience of 38,000 people on last year, and 85,000 for the same period in 2005.

Home production has been to the fore on RTÉ Television this summer, with three new home-produced entertainment series, four new home-produced factual series, new music series, four new home-produced lifestyle series, as well as new editions of over 15 returning home-produced series and sports programming.

The first programme in the new three-part factual series 'Heist' attracted an audience of 517,000.

Lifestyle series such as 'Super Garden', 'One Thing to Do Before You Die', 'Heat' and 'Use It or Lose It' have also proved hugely popular.

New entertainment series 'Boom! Boom! The Explosion of Irish Comedy' attracted an audience of 372,000 for its first programme.

Returning series such as 'Room to Improve' and 'Saturday Night' with Miriam' have attracted average audiences of 441,000 and 425,000 respectively.

Noel Curran, Managing Director of RTÉ Television said: “We've seen big increases in our audiences this summer. We've increased investment in home production in the summer months over the last three years and we're delighted to see that this is resonating with viewers.”

Later this summer, new Irish drama 'Little White Lie' (4 August) and new celebrity entertainment series 'Fáilte Towers' (starts 2 August) will be broadcast, while comprehensive coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing begins on 8 August.