Tuesday 17 January 2017

'Prime Time should be called McCullagh Tonight', says Miriam O'Callaghan as she weighs in on Pat Kenny Tonight sexism row

Sean O'Grady

Published 11/10/2016 | 07:33

Miriam O'Callaghan, Claire Byrne and Daviud McCullagh
Miriam O'Callaghan, Claire Byrne and Daviud McCullagh
Pat Kenny and Colette Fitzpatrick. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Miriam O'Callaghan at the IFTA gala television awards ceremony held at the DoubleTree Hilton, Dublin. Picture: Mark Condren

Miriam O’Callaghan has admitted she found the naming controversy surrounding Pat Kenny’s new TV3 show “a little strange”.

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The RTE star even poked fun at the situation, joking that Prime Time should be renamed David McCullagh Tonight.

Miriam (56) had her say on Pat Kenny Tonight, which only features his name, despite being co-presented by Colette Fitzpatrick.

The new current affairs series faced accusations of sexism, with the National Women’s Council of Ireland blasting the absence of Colette’s name from the show’s title.Miriam, who has presented Prime Time for 20 years, reckons the RTE series could use a name change to fit in with Pat and Colette’s series.

Pat Kenny and Colette Fitzpatrick. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Pat Kenny and Colette Fitzpatrick. Picture: Brian McEvoy

“I think Prime Time should be rebranded Dave McCullagh Tonight, what about that?” she told the Herald.

The mum-of-eight said fans on social media started poking fun at the star when the Pat Kenny Tonight controversy kicked off but she insisted it was all in good taste.

Read more: Amanda Brunker on Pat Kenny Tonight sexism row: 'Colette Fitzpatrick doesn't make tea for the show, she co-presents it'

“Twitter did go into a bit of fun with that, saying they were watching Dave McCullagh tonight, but look, life is too short,” she said.

Miriam O'Callaghan at the IFTA gala television awards ceremony held at the DoubleTree Hilton, Dublin. Picture: Mark Condren
Miriam O'Callaghan at the IFTA gala television awards ceremony held at the DoubleTree Hilton, Dublin. Picture: Mark Condren

Miriam revealed she found the show’s name choice unusual given Pat is not hosting the series by himself.strange“I read what Colette said about that because I thought it was a little strange but, to be fair to both of them, they said it was a marketing decision,” Miriam said.

The broadcaster insisted she would not feign outrage on behalf of Colette, who has said she is fine with the programme’s name.“Colette herself seems happy so if she’s not unhappy, I’m not going to be unhappy on her behalf. I thought she was superb on the show and Pat was superb too,” she said.

Read more: Michael O'Doherty: Dispute over Pat Kenny's show isn't about sexism - he's just the bigger star

Newstalk star Pat (68) defended the decision and said Herald columnist Colette would play an integral role in the programme. “What do you do, what do you call it? The Pat and Colette Show? The PC show, the politically correct show? I think it was a decision to use my name as a marketing lead, but Colette will be an integral part of the show,” he said.

“It will be shared equally.”

The show premiered to a lukewarm audience of 173,000, with Miriam revealing she is not worried about the potential competition the show could bring.

“I thought it was really good. I thought Pat and Colette were really good.

“I hope it does well. I never think, ‘Oh my God, that’s competition. It’s a really good show. Competition is nice, it’s good,” she said.

Colette said the show’s name was all down to Pat being the more seasoned presenter.“It has nothing to do with gender, genuinely. I always knew the show was going to be called Pat Kenny Tonight because Pat has more experience than me,” she said.

Miriam, who recently walked the red carpet at the Irish Film and Television Awards, said she is enjoying her work on Prime Time more than ever.

“It’s going great. I did a big story the other night on whistleblowers in the gardai. It’s good, it’s journalism. On my passport, I write ‘journalist’ because that is ultimately what I am,” she said.

Herald

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