Grainne Seoige in limbo as RTE's Crimecall moves to a different production company
Published 24/07/2016 | 02:30
Grainne Seoige was RTE's uncrowned princess.
The combination of uber-cool screen presence, red-hot good looks and utter professionalism meant even the top bosses in Montrose were slightly in awe of the Galway girl.
But something has changed. From being ever-present on our screens - first co-hosting her own afternoon chat show Seoige with her sister Sile, and then fronting The All Ireland Talent Show - Grainne has found that the national broadcaster is a colder house in recent times.
Now, the Sunday Independent has learned that RTE is shaking up Crimecall the crime-investigation programme which Grainne fronted to some acclaim.
This weekend RTE refused to commit as to whether Grainne will front the revamped show.
A well-placed RTE source told the Sunday Independent: "RTE is looking at different possibilities. The team are looking at all elements of the show, but to say Grainne is coming back is not 100pc as of yet, but it is very likely."
The lack of commitment is strange for one of RTE's most successful brands but a separate senior source said: "She will be back - it's just a matter of working things out."
In recent weeks the programme, which is co-hosted by Philip Boucher Hayes, was put out to tender and was given to another production company.
As another RTE sourcesaid: "Coco Television has made the show for the past 12 years. They created, developed and produced it from its inception. But RTE told the company in the last few weeks that they were putting the show's production up for tender and it has now gone to a production company in the North who will make it for the foreseeable future".
"I'd say it did come as a surprise to Coco. It's been one of RTE's most successful brands, outperforming the schedule average."
The show plays a valuable role in garda investigations, so news that it has gone to a production company outside the State has raised eyebrows.
"When you think about it, it's a different legislation, another police force, confidential information about victim's cases will be going outside the State. It's a strange decision but I think it's part of bigger things that are happening now in RTE.
"There are personalities there now who want to show wthat they are making big decisions and changes are afoot," added the source.
In recent weeks big names, including RTE TV managing director Glen Killane and RTE2 channel controller Bill Malone, have left the station and more are expected to follow suit.
Mr Killane has been appointed as Eir's first head of television, while Mr Malone has taken on the role of director of programming for TV3.
But as for Grainne, it remains to be seen.
RTE has form when it comes to over-using its best and brightest. Carrie Crowley and Cynthia Ni Murchu were ever-present on our screens for a while and then faded out of sight. Of course, both those talented broadcasters have built other careers since their RTE days. Carrie is an actress in Fair City, while Cynthia went into law.
But Grainne is different. She was made for TV - and for bigger slots than Up for the Match and the People of the Year Awards.
This weekend, Coco would not return calls, while Grainne did not make any comment.
In a statement this weekend, RTE told the Sunday Independent: "Crimecall will be returning to RTE One in the autumn. When an independently-produced series has been on air for four years or more, RTE puts the series out to tender to give independent production companies the opportunity to pitch for the series and refresh the format.
"As we are still in the process of negotiations as a result of the tender process, we are not in a position to comment further at this time."