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Monday, May 24, 1999 Published at 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK


The Late Late Show goes on

Gay Byrne: Left The Late Late Show after 37 years

Broadcaster Pat Kenny is the new host of Ireland's top talk show, The Late Late Show, following the departure of presenter Gay Byrne.

Kenny will host the programme's 38th season when it returns to RTE One in September. He is already well-known for his Saturday night show, Kenny Live, which will now be replaced by a variety show.

Gay Byrne left the Friday night show last week with a marathon four-hour-long programme, featuring contributions from Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and President Mary McAleese. It had 1.3m viewers in Ireland - out of a total population of around 3.5m.

RTE's managing director of broadcasting, Joe Mulholland, said: "Pat Kenny is a very accomplished broadcaster. We feel he is the right man for the job."

Kielty also a frontrunner

[ image: Pat Kenny: Currently hosts a Saturday night show (picture courtesy RTE)]
Pat Kenny: Currently hosts a Saturday night show (picture courtesy RTE)
Kenny, 51, is in Israel working on RTE's coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest, and was unavailable for comment.

Northern Ireland-born comedian Patrick Kielty - a former UK National Lottery presenter - was also considered for the slot, but the 29-year-old was unable to take up a position in Dublin because of his commitments in the UK.

"It is true that we had a fair bit of discussion with Paddy and we did discuss the possibility of him doing a weekend show, the nature of which remained to be determined.

"We're still in discussions with him about other opportunities. We would hope to have him on RTE as we think he is a very, very talented, person," said Mulholland.

He added RTE was determined to keep the Late Late Show on the air - with or without Gay Byrne.

"We feel that the Late Late Show has made such a contribution to national life and public life in this country. It would be absolutely foolish to allow it to go."

Byrne, 64, has not ruled out returning to Irish screens - the veteran host has simply said he wants to "do nothing" for six months.

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