RTE and Gaybo insist the Show will go on for Ryan
LATE Late presenter Ryan Tubridy lost 70,000 more viewers last Friday night but will continue as host of the most-watched show on Irish television.
New figures show 577,000 viewers tuned in to see guests, including former international soccer star Ronnie Whelan, chat with Tubridy.
This was significantly down on the previous week when 650,000 watched the first programme of the season, even though it was on the same night as an international football match.
Despite the new fall in 'Late Late' viewers, RTE last night said it remained "happy" with the 42pc audience share that the chat show commanded last Friday. It had a peak of more than 700,000 viewers at 9.59pm.
"This is a very strong performance for RTE and the 'Late Late'," a spokeswoman told the Irish Independent. "42pc of people watching television chose to watch the 'Late Late' on a Friday night. This is despite the fact that over 70pc of viewers in Ireland have hundreds of digital channels to choose from."
Station chiefs were also keen to point out that, by comparison, in the UK the 'X-Factor' achieved a 43pc share on Saturday night.
However, the RTE programme's figures are down on last year when 832,000 tuned into the first show of the season, and the second show attracted 642,000 viewers.
Last night, former 'Late Late' host Gay Byrne defended Tubridy, who has also been under pressure because of a falloff in listeners to his 2fm radio show.
Byrne said: "Ryan is doing a good job. He dropped some viewers but I'm sure he will pick them up in the weeks ahead. 'The Late Late Show' losing and gaining viewers is a pattern that has been going on for 50 years."
But the veteran broadcaster can afford to relax about ratings -- after pulling in nearly half a million viewers each week to his 'One Night Only' summer replacement for 'The Late Late Show'.
"I'm surprised because 'One Night Only' was never supposed to be a big ratings show. It was just a filler," said Byrne.
The veteran broadcaster also said reports that the national broadcaster snubbed Tubridy to ask him to host New Year's Eve celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of RTE TV, were wide of the mark.
"I haven't agreed to do the New Year's Eve programme. It was mentioned to me but I didn't say yes or no," he said,.
The 70-year-old's next project is hosting a one-man show at The Gate Theatre on Sunday night in aid of the Irish Cancer Society.
And after briefly being linked to the race for the Presidency, the TV personality said he would "seriously consider" voting for Senator David Norris if he launched a renewed campaign on 'The Late Late Show' this Friday night.
"What I have learned about the Irish people doing TV and radio for 50 years is that they have great common sense. That prevails in the end and there would be a good deal of support for Senator Norris if he came back into the race.
"What I would fear, if he was elected, would be what the foreign press would do to him."