Saturday 22 October 2016

Michael O'Doherty: Axe falling on three Xpose stars proves life on TV is short and cruel

Published 05/09/2016 | 07:31

Lisa Cannon at Tv3's Autumn launch at The National Concert Hall, Dublin. Photo:Brian McEvoy
Lisa Cannon at Tv3's Autumn launch at The National Concert Hall, Dublin. Photo:Brian McEvoy
Weekend AM presenters Laura Woods, Ian Noctor, Anna Daly, Tommy Martin and Lisa Cannon at Tv3's Autumn launch at The National Concert Hall, Dublin. Picture:Brian McEvoy
Lisa Cannon now: Pictured at the 2015 IFTAs, Lisa has become one of Ireland's most recognisable broadcasters.
Lisa Cannon
(L to R) Sybil Mulcahy, Aisling O'Loughlin, Lorraine Keane, Lisa Cannon and Karen Koster
Xpose presenter Lisa Cannon

Are the red carpets outside the country's most glamorous events a little redder than usual? That might be because of all the blood spilled at the nation's best-known entertainment show in the past week.

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Xpose, Ireland's first and only entertainment show, has axed 60pc of its presenting team. When it revealed its autumn schedule last week it also sprung the news that three presenters were being replaced - founding members Lisa Cannon and Aisling O'Loughlin and relative newcomer Peter O'Riordan.

This celebrity cull is a reflection of two factors. Firstly, the show is returning to a 30-minute slot, down from an hour. With less content needed, five presenters can't be justified. Secondly, thought it wasn't admitted by TV3, it is obvious that the replacements - bright, bubbly Ruth O'Neill and Cassie Stokes - bring a renewed sense of youth and vigour to the show. Perhaps that wasn't in evidence with the more mature presenters that they're replacing.

This purge has provided another reminder of the oft-pleaded downside of working on TV, the fact that - for all its glamour and perks - the future is always uncertain. Even Kathryn Thomas, who hardly seems to be off our screens, revealed at the weekend that she's already planning for a time when viewers get tired of seeing her face. She's working on producing her own show to sell to RTE.

Ironically enough, Xpose's longevity has been helped by the very fact that it boasted a predominantly female line-up. Because of the regular pregnancies that befell its presenters - Karen, Sybil and Aisling - TV3 had a ready-made opportunity to draft in replacements, and keep the show fresh. In the past, Michelle Doherty, Kirsteen O'Sullivan, Ruth and Cassie have been brought in.

The reality is that Xpose will be 10 years old next spring - and in the worlds of celebrity and style that's a lifetime. It's remarkable that three of its original line-up were still there last week.

Of the three presenters let go, Lisa Cannon alone seemed to acknowledge this. She admitted that after a decade of essentially talking about the same Z-listers and "key looks for the new season", she was looking forward to a change.

Reportedly, the same can't be said of Aisling O'Loughlin, who was on maternity leave when the announcement was made. According to a Sunday newspaper she has been consulting her solicitors about the legality of TV3's actions ...

News also broke last week that Grainne Seoige was not being retained as presenter of RTE's Crimecall. It has also provided a salutary lesson as to the fickleness of working in the entertainment industry, and that nothing in the business lasts forever.

As the very people who reported on that very business, you'd have thought that the presenters of Xpose knew this better than anyone.

If they didn't a week ago, they certainly do now ...

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