RTE desperate to find Housewives replacement
RTE bosses are facing a scheduling headache as hit show Desperate Housewives approaches its last episode.
The series has been a major success since it first screened on RTE Two in 2005 and will leave a huge gap in the station's prime-time schedule.
Figures show that last week's third-last episode scored 322,000 viewers, more than twice the amount of the second most popular show that week, Premier Soccer Monday.
The last episode will air on Tuesday and is sure to be wrench for the hundreds of thousands of fans who have watched every twist and turn over the past eight seasons.
There was no word on a possible replacement for the Tuesday-night slot it occupies, with the station declining to speculate on the issue.
"Our autumn schedule has not been decided at this point, but an announcement will be made in advance of that," said a spokesperson.
Though viewing figures for the US drama, which stars Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria, have declined slightly in recent years, it still remains one of RTE's strongest performers.
The latest series has consistently attracted more than 300,000 viewers per episode.
The show is also one of the broadcaster's major revenue generators, attracting the key female 18-30 demographic.
Barry Fitzgerald, client director with media agency Mediavest, believes RTE executives will face an anxious wait until a new hit series can be found.
"The show has been consistently popular with young women and that is a large target market," he said.
"It's definitely seen as one of the most lucrative markets and they will be keen to keep that audience with them.
"Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives would be the two biggest shows in this market and I'd imagine RTE will go for another US import to fill the Tuesday-night slot. It will certainly be something that RTE will be looking at closely."