It's back to the future for Pat as new show to rival Tubridy's 'Late Late'
Broadcaster Pat Kenny will return to his 'Late Late Show' roots, presenting a weekly late night chat show in front of a live studio audience.
Kenny, who left RTE last year to join Newstalk, was unveiled as UTV Ireland's latest recruit at the station's preview launch yesterday.
Kenny's series, which has yet to be named, will air in early 2015 and will see the broadcaster interviewing a range of personalities from both the political and entertainment worlds. "This will not be a hard news and current affairs show," UTV Ireland's Head of Channel Mary Curtis told the Irish Independent.
"Although we may touch on those subjects depending on the different guests Pat has on. "You have seen what he has done on RTE; we are going to utilise and maximise on that experience," Curtis said.
"He is very good with a live audience, he is very good with talent, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge and he understands and can handle complex and light issues." Asked if current presenter of 'The Late Late Show' Ryan Tubridy (pictured) should worry about Kenny's upcoming series Curtis replied; "No-one need worry if they are doing their job well. There is plenty of room for us all out there."
The flagship series will be produced 'out of house' by an Irish independent production company with UTV Ireland intending to put the series to tender within the coming weeks.
While reluctant to release budgetary details, UTV Ireland described the series as a "high value commission". Curtis also stated Kenny would be with the station for the foreseeable future. "He has signed a contract. It's not just for this series," she said. "But a longer period of time."
UTV Ireland's agreement with ITV Studios Global Entertainment gives the channel access to a slate of hugely popular programming made by ITV Studios.
This includes series 'The Graham Norton Show', 'Mr Selfridge', 'Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway', 'I'm A Celebrity…Get me out of Here!' and 'This Morning'. The station will also broadcast popular soaps 'Coronation Street' and ' Emmerdale' and controversial chat show 'Jeremy Kyle'.
Close to 25pc of the stations output will consist of home grown factual and documentary series such as 'Lesser Spotted Journeys' which draws on the popularity of TV show 'Lesser Spotted Ulster' and 'Rare Breed', a programme about cattle farming in Ireland.
The station does not intend on producing expensive drama series or children's TV shows. And it would not say how much it was investing in total in the station.
"We are bringing the best of worldwide content and the best of Irish talent to the screen," Managing Director Michael Wilson said.
"We are extremely ambitious and proud of the programming package we are putting together and think the audience will like it too. "
Speaking at the launch, Pat Kenny said his return to TV couldn't have "come at a better time". "I have had a pretty comprehensive apprenticeship between 'The Late Late Show', 'Kenny Live' and 'The Frontline'," he said. "I am looking forward to delivering an entertaining and exciting series," he said. "I have always been about grabbing the audience and keeping them with me. It's new and interesting territory and I am looking forward to hopping on board UTV Ireland for another great adventure."
Earlier this week, UTV Ireland announced their lead news anchor Alison Comyn.
Comyn will present current affairs show 'Ireland Live' and 'Ireland Live at Ten'. "I am chomping at the bit and can't wait to get in to the studio," she said. "I'm counting down the days until January."