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RTÉ Two (Irish: RTÉ a Dó) is Irelandmarker's second-oldest television channel, operated by Irish state broadcaster RTÉmarker. RTÉ Two is universally available throughout the island of Ireland on the VHF and UHF bands, and is also available via satellite (DVB-S) to Irish subscribers of Sky Digital.


There had been much debate in the 1970s about the choice of second channel. There were 3 options open to the government at the time, an independent commercial service, the re-transmission of BBC One Northern Ireland or a second RTÉ channel. It was finally decided that RTÉ should run the new service.
The first logo for RTÉ 2
The channel started broadcasting on 2 November 1978. The channel was opened with a gala ceremony from Cork. Due to a technical fault, audio from BBC Two's was played during the countdown instead of the proper soundtrack, and when the channel commenced programmes, there was no audio for the initial 15 seconds or so. Originally the channel broadcast only from in the evening. It broadcast much live programming from the BBC and ITV. However the channel in its initial format was not considered a success.

Network 2

In September 1988, RTÉ2 was given a major revamp and became Network 2. In addition to the launch of a new vivid red, blue, and green logo, the channel now came on air at 14:30. The Den was moved to the channel, along with most youth and children's programming. Jo Maxi was launched as the youth strand. Sports Stadium took up the entire Saturday afternoon schedule, and all sports programming was aired on the channel, along with Irish language programming. A late night news bulletin, Network News, which was followed by the controversial chat show come soap opera Nighthawks presented by Shay Healy.

The first logo for Network 2.
This relaunch was a big success, and Network 2 remained stable until the mid-1990s. A new logo—referring to the channel as RTÉ Network Two (though the "RTÉ" part was not referred to by announcers)—was launched with the new RTÉ logo in 1995. By this time, RTÉ Network Two broadcast from mid-morning onwards, with educational programmes during the day. Also during this era, the channel experimented with late night broadcasts at weekends, under the The End brand, anchored by Barry Murphy and Sean Moncrieff.
Logo for Network 2 September 1995–October 1997.

There was another major revamp in 1997, the channel was visually rebranded as "N2", though announcers continued to refer to "Network 2". N2 brought about perhaps as big a change as the original relaunch, RTÉ branding was dropped from the station almost completely, with home produced programmes now being referred to as "N2 Productions" (foreign imports were "N2 Presentations"). A futuristic logo along with a series of unusual graphical idents were developed. In-vision announcing returned. More importantly, the channel's line-up was completely refreshed. The late night schedule was completely revamped, with the launch of News 2—a tailored bulletin for young people—followed by a talk show, Later On 2. Monday nights became comedy nights, with the launch of home-produced comedy such as Don't Feed The Gondolas. Elsewhere theme nights became a regular fixture, particularly on Fridays and Saturdays. The Den was now broadcast all day until 18:00 and was renamed Den 2.
One of the many logo innovations for N2 from 1997-2004
Not all the changes were universally welcomed, with the "N2" era, RTÉ cancelled its long running Saturday sports programme, Sports Stadium. Since then, RTÉ has not regularly aired live sports (or at least, as part of a regular schedule) on Saturday afternoons, though major events are still covered.


Many of the innovations of the N2 era had faded out by 2003. The idents had been replaced by simpler creations, the in-vision continuity had been scrapped again. Later On 2 had more-or-less ended (one of the strands continues as The View on RTÉ One). In September 2003, News 2 was reverted back to the regular RTÉ News format (as RTÉ News on Two).

From September 2003, continuity announcers and trailers began to refer to the channel by the fuller title of "RTÉ Network Two", in line with a new RTÉ initiative to promote the corporate branding. The main channel idents never changed, and said merely "N2" (although a newly-introduced on-screen DOG said "RTÉ N2".).

RTÉ decided that the channel needed another revamp to keep it fresh. The channel's name was reverted to RTÉ Two on the morning of 2 October 2004, with a themed evening of programmes called "Farewell Network 2" beginning at 20:00, featuring Podge and Rodge (see The Den). The new logo is similar in style to the current RTÉ One logo. The new branding is designed to promote the Irishness of the station, green is the dominant colour. New strands were developed. In particular, the number of Irish made programmes has increased, though some of this is made up of a new strand of early evening repeats. The idents from this time were based on a Green Room theme.

The latest change has been a complete rebrand and relaunch of The Den, on Saturday 17 September 2005, with the id Two strand becoming TTV on the following Monday. In September 2009 TTV relaunched as Two Tube

RTÉ Two airs American programmes such as The Simpsons (currently airing Season 16 weekdays at 6pm), 90210, Law and Order, Criminal Minds, The Big Bang Theory, Greys Anatomy,Worst Week and Private Practice. Australian soaps Neighbours and Home and Away air along with Irish programmes such as Katherine Lynch's Wonderwomen, the Podge and Rodge Show. Other well known US shows on RTÉ Two include Lost, Ugly Betty, Prison Break, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY and Desperate Housewives. It also airs Smallville and Eli Stone after midnight on weekends.

RTÉ Two got a new look on 17 September 2009. The new idents were created by RTÉ Graphic Design.


RTÉ Two received €35 from each license fees of the total €160 license fee in 2008. This is equal to €49,126,000 in total from the licence fee.

RTÉ Two spent in total €88,673,000 on Indigenous programming, of that a total €70,226,000 was produced by RTÉ internally (In-house productions), and €18,447,000 was produced by independent producers of which 50% is a requirement under Irish law. RTÉ spends a total of €11 million on International productions and a further €48,000 on non-RTÉ Irish produced shows for RTÉ Two. €48,791,000 was received by RTÉ in advertising revenue from RTÉ Two. RTÉ Two had a net loss of €21,975,000 in 2008, however RTÉmarker broke even in 2008. Other costs included Network transmission and other broadcasting operation costs which amounted to €28,948,000 in 2008.

The table below outlines RTÉ Two's total in-house and commissioned programming by genre in 2008:-

Genre Budget
Factual €2,080,000
Drama €4,739,000
Entertainment €8,698,000
Music €1,375,000
News,Current Affairs and Weather €3,024,000
Sport €53,820,000
Young Peoples Programming €14,935,000
Total €88,673,000


RTÉ Two's main emphasis is on programmes for children and young people together with sports and acquired imported programmes. The channel's children's strand, The Den runs from 06:00 to 17:30 each weekday, followed by its youth strand, Two Tube (formerly TTV, previously iD Two previously iD) from 17:30 to 19:00. RTÉ News on Two airs each weekday after 22:45.

The channel also has a number of other strands, including Two Wild, Two Extreme, and RTÉ Sport on Two. Films are also regularly aired on the channel especially European cinema and International cinema.

After 19:00, RTÉ Two airs its primetime lineup. This includes such imported shows as 24, CSI: NY, CSI: Miami, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Prison Break, Ugly Betty, Law & Order, etc., and such home-produced shows as No Experience Required, How Low Can You Go?, The Podge and Rodge Show, The Panel and Dan & Becs. RTÉ Two also airs premier movies under the name SCREEN TWO and has first run rights to Irish rugby and football. The channel has a reputation for airing many US shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, Prison Break, Ugly Betty, etc., before any other networks in Europe.

RTÉ Two's schedule is carefully made so as to maximise the viewing figures for RTÉ Two but not at the expense of its sister channel, RTÉ One.

Typical Prime time schedule 2009/2010

The following schedule was announced by RTÉ in August 2009, it is here purely to provide an idea of the type of schedule that RTÉ Two provides during the year.

Movies are in red; dramas are in green; reality shows are in yellow; game shows are in orange; news programming is in brown; Chat shows are in purple; Feature programming is in light green; Documentaries are in grey; Comedies are in very light green; Sports are in blue












Monday The Simpsons Home and Away The Bill MNS Father Ted The Byrne Ultimatum Baz's Culture Clash RTE News on Two Short Film
Tuesday Scrubs Dancing with the Stars Brothers and Sisters Nurse Jackie Maeve Higgins' Fancy Vittles Summer Heights High
Wednesday Dancing with the Stars Law and Order: Criminal Intent Criminal Minds The 11th Hour
Thursday Natural World Who do you think you are? CSI: Miami CSI: New York The United States of Tara
Friday The Cafe League of Ireland NCIS Life Private Practice
Saturday Seconds from Disaster Top Gear Premier Soccer Saturday Heineken Cup Rugby Movie
Sunday Fur Seals The Secrets of the Great Barrier Reef Addicted to Money Movie Late Night Stars of Poker Ireland

  • RTÉ TWO's schedule is divided up into distinct parts: -

    • 06:00 - 17:00 The Den RTÉ's long running children's channel

    • 21:00 - 00:00 First showings of major US programmes such as Lost and new or returning Irish serials such as Pure Mule, RAW etc.

Irish Produced Programming

Reality Television

During the last decade like many other TV channels RTÉ Two have had several reality based TV shows.

In 2003 Network 2 set out to find their news TV presenter in a reality show called The Selection Box, the eventual winner was Caroline Morahan. In more recent years they have produced a similar children's series for The Den called It's My Show.

RTÉ Two also produced two series of the employment reality show No Experience Required, three prospective candidates are evaluated over the course of a week for a vacant position in a top company, the show follows them through interview stages and tasks set out by their prospective employees. A spin off series entitled No Experience Require transition years was produced for a younger school going audiences.

In 2008 RTÉ Two broadcast Hollywood Trials. It follow a group of young actors traveling to make it big in LA. The actors where selected by Hollywood acting guru Margie Haber. Those selected to travel with Margie to LA included Chris Newman from the RTÉ Two drama Love is the Drug, George McMahon from RTÉ One soap opera Fair City and Michael Graham of Boyzone fame.

This season RTÉ Two are currently running a Model search called The Model Agent. The model agent in question is Ellis and with help of Erin O'Connor as the girls mentor she will pick one of 12 to gain a contract with Independent Models, one of the world's leading agencies and a cover of Image magazine, one of the Ireland's most high profile and respected fashion titles.

RTÉ Two also ran spin off serials to RTÉ One's reality shows, such as You're A Star Uncut, Cabin Fever, and Treasure Island Uncovered.


In the first two decades of RTÉ Two little original drama was produce for the channel, often RTÉ would just repeat their dramas on the channel such as Fair City and Glenreo. RTÉ did place some emphase on short film in the RTÉ Two series Short Cuts. Short Films remain on RTÉ Two most Monday nights at 11:30, this shorts are not just taken from RTÉ co-financed products but also from independent producers around the country.RTÉ Two's most successful drama was a drama/comedy/chat show entitle Nighthawks presented by Shay Healy. This was produced as a pseudo-documentry about the behind the scenes of the television production, it feature many well known Irish comedians, however unlike the mockumentary The Larry Sanders Show Nighthawks featured real interviews. Gerry Ryan had a similar format show called Gerry Ryan Tonight during the 1990's.

Since 2000 RTÉ are committed to providing new and original drama on RTÉ Two each Monday night as part of their new autumn season. The drama's have had mixed reviews but they included. Paths to Freedom (2000), Love is the Drug, Bachelor's Walk (2001 - 2003), Pure Mule (2004) and Prosperity. Most of the drama's and comedy aired on RTÉ Two are aimed at a young less conservative audience. Raw is RTÉ Two's latest Monday Night Drama, it received mixed reviews but it reached on average 250,000 viewers each week against RTÉ One's Prime Time Investigates and TV3's The Apprentice, filming for a second series began in mid-2009. Most of RTÉ Two drama output is aim at a younger audience than that or RTÉ One's and it often contains bad language and sex scenes.


Monday night has been comedy night on RTÉ Two since its 1997 re-launch. Many US sitcoms were intermixed with live Irish comedy such as Don't Feed The Gondalas (DFTG), The Panel, The Rodge and Podge Show, A Scare at Bedtime with Rodge and Podge, @LastTV, The Liffey Laughs, The Blizzard of Odd, The Byrne Ultimatum and Night Live.

Children's TV

As part RTÉ Two's redevelopment in 1998 as Network 2, all of RTÉmarker's children's programming moved from RTÉ One to Network 2. Dempsey's Den hosed by Ian Dempsey, Zig and Zag and Zuppy the Dog moved to Network 2 from RTÉ One, and now broadcast for an extra hour from 3pm to 6pm. Network 2 would start the day 2:30pm with Bosco a pre-school television show. Saturday Morning's Television remained on RTÉ One until the mid-1990s.

Saturday programming would come from RTÉ Cork in from the mid-1990s, starting with The Swamp which took the place of classic Irish Children's TV should as Padjo's Junkbox, Scrap Saturday and Anything Goes. Satitude is RTÉ Cork's main TV show for children and it is now broadcast on The Den on RTÉ Two on Saturday mornings.

Den Tot's is now The Den's pre-school strand, RTÉ do not advertise during these selected hours.

RTÉ News on Two

RTÉ News on Two is RTÉmarker's late evening news programme. The program is broadcast Monday-Thursday on the channel. It does not have a regular time slot, but is usually broadcast at some point between 22:45 and 23:30. It runs for 22 minutes. It has been known over the years as Network News and News 2.

RTÉ News on Two takes a different agenda to other RTÉ News programmes. Its content is customised for a younger audience, and presenters and journalists tend to use more informal language on the programme. Since October 2006 the bulletin has been presented by Eileen Whelan, following the departure of Anthony Murnane who was with the programme from the beginning. John O'Driscoll is the programme Editor.

Since March 2007 RTÉ News on Two is now streamed live on the internet and archive shows are available to view through the RTÉ website. On Fridays an extended late summary on RTÉ One is broadcast instead of RTÉ News on Two. There are no weekend news programmes on RTÉ Two other than summaries.They also provide children's news each weekday called News2day.


RTÉ Two broadcast the majority of RTÉ's sports content. Since RTÉ own rights to several competitions any fixtures clashing with RTÉ Two's schedule will often be provided on RTÉ One, however RTÉ One rarely provides sporting events on weekdays hence most Soccer matches are shown on RTÉ Two. These include UEFA Champions league and the FAI League of Ireland. George Hamilton is the station's main sports commentator. RTÉ Two also covers some smaller sports such as Athletics, Australian rules football, Baseball, Basketball, Combat sports, Cricket, Cycling, Extreme sports, Golf, Hockey, Racquet sports, Scuba diving, Snooker, pool, Target shooting, Triathlon, and Water sports. RTÉ Two also covers the Olympic Games and the annual International Rules Series between Ireland and Australia.

RTÉ Two's sports coverage is its most popular programming strand, it often tops RTÉ Two's most watch shows, significantly out doing other all other programming.


RTÉ Two provides most of the GAA Championship coverage for Hurley and Football, in 2008 it lost its monopoly on the games as TV3 bought live rights for 10 of the matches. The main GAA show is called The Sunday Game it is a review of the weekends action and it is presented by Micheal Lester and Des Cahill, The Sunday Game Live is broadcast earlier in the day. While The Saturday Game Live only provides live coverage of the games. Setanta Sports also holds rights for the GAA Championships however these are delayed rights as Setanta Sports is a pay television service. RTÉ Two also provides live coverage of the Camogie All-Ireland finals. RTÉ was one of three sponsors for the Hurling Championships.


League of Ireland rights are owned by TG4, RTÉmarker and Setanta Sports. They each take turns on showing live matches each Friday night. RTÉ also produce a domestic soccer show called Monday Night Soccer (MNS) which provides a round up of the weekend of League of Ireland. RTÉ have held rights to the 3:30pm FA Premiership match from the English league, however these are now owned by Setanta Sports. RTÉ currently have the rights to highlights from the FA Premiership which they show every Saturday night with regular pundits Eamonn Dunphy and Johnny Giles. The currently have the rights to the World Cup in South Africa. They currently hold the rights to Tuesday Nights soccer from UEFA Champions League with both Setanta and TV3 all other hold rights.


RTÉ hold the rights to highlights of the Heineken Cup, full coverage of the Six Nations Rugby, while lost out to Setanta and TV3 for the Rugby World Cup 2008. Their main Rugby team consists of George Hook and Ryle Nugent.


RTÉ Two's entertainment content is generally aim at a young audience to that of its sister channel RTÉ One. Since 1988 RTÉ Two has been successful with a number of entertainment shows aimed at the 15 to 35 year old age group.

In the early years of RTÉ Two music shows on the channel consisted of Music TV USA every Sunday night. In the mid-1980's this was replaced by The Beat Box presented by Ian Dempsey and later Dave Fanning. Dave Fanning would later present the music series as 2TV. The Beat Box and 2TV were both broadcast on 2FM RTÉ's popular music radio station.

No Disco was an alternative music show for late night TV from 1993 to 2003, it was hosted by initially by Donal Dineen who left to present radio on Radio Ireland in 1997. Uaneen Fitzsimons took his place on the show, Uaneen died tragically in a road accident in 2000. She had made a significant name for herself on the show, her knowledge of the music industry, her love of the music and her respect for her guests was apparent through out the show.In 1997 Later on 2, Tuesday nights was the Arts review show presented by John Kelly who no presents a similar show on RTÉ One called The View. Also in 1997 RTÉ introduced a set of comedy television shows on the newly re-launched N2 service. Don't Feed The Gondols or DFTG was presented by Sean Moncreiff and later by Brendan O'Connor. In the initial years Brendan O'Connor was one of the main team captains, during the final season Brendan O'Connor became the main host with only 3 guests. Other shows to begin that year included Rodge and Podge:A Scare at Bedtime and @LastTV a fast paced review show with interviews, comedy sketches and music.In 2009 RTÉ Two launched it's worst Entertainment season with critics and fans deriding many of the new titles which included The Byrne Ultimatum, Meave Higgan's Fancy Vittles, The Republic of Telly and Rodge and Pogde's Stickit Inn.


References in media

  • Saturday Night Live has mentioned this station on two occasions:
    • The recurring sketch "Top O'The Morning" hosted by two barflies Patrick Fitzwilliam (Jimmy Fallon) and William Fitzpatrick (Seth Meyers) is said to be broadcast on RTÉ Two.
    • A one-off sketch parodying reality shows that focus on remodeling houses called "You Call This A House, Do Ya?" is also said to have broadcast on RTÉ Two

RTÉ Two main analogue transmitters

UHF VHF Location
- G Mullaghanish
- G Truskmore
- H Kippure
- H Maghera
- I Mount Leinster
26 - Holywell Hill
33 - Three Rock
43 - Cairn Hillmarker
56 - Clermont Carn
57 - Spur Hill

Source: (Accessed 18 October 2006)

See also


  4. [1]

External links

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