Gaybo: I turned down RTE. . .
It plans to be the biggest celebration of Irish television ever broadcast.
But veteran presenter Gay Byrne has turned down an invitation to host RTE's 50th anniversary party this New Year's Eve.
The national broadcaster is planning a major live TV event on December 31 to mark its golden jubilee, with a galaxy of RTE stars from down through the years. So who better to act as MC than broadcasting legend Gabriel Mary Byrne?
"RTE asked me to do the New Year's Eve Show but I've decided I'm not doing it. There are people who hate New Year's Eve and I'm one of them," Gay told me this week.
But the main reason the much-loved host said he has for passing up the prestigious gig is that New Year's Eve shows always have a "lousy audience".
"The people watching TV at home on New Year's Eve are grumpy. They think everybody else is out drinking champagne and having a wonderful time.
"Meanwhile, they're stuck at home because their mother-in-law has measles or worse because nobody has asked them out.
"You get a bad reaction from them no matter what you do; in fact they make a lousy, lousy audience," chuckled Uncle Gaybo.
Still, the 77-year-old's refusal could be good news for other the station's other high-profile stars after it was widely reported in September that Gay had beaten them to the job.
"The first I knew about it was when my daughter rang up to ask if I would be seeing her on New Year's Eve because she had read that I was hosting the New Year's Eve Show.
"I knew nothing about it, then when RTE asked me to do it and I said no," he added.
RTE have yet to reveal details of who will now host their 50th anniversary show.
But Gay said he himself has stepped into the breach one too many times for his employer.
"I did so many New Year's Eve's for RTE, and I always dreaded them.
"The last place I want to be this New Years Eve is in RTE. It's a bad time of the year," he said.
Sunday With Gay Byrne airs on Lyric FM from 2-4pm tomorrow.