Gaybo gets RTE’S 50th anniversary gig over Tubridy
Published 04/09/2011 | 05:00
RTE HAS sensationally chosen veteran Gay Byrne to host its 50th anniversary celebrations on New Year's Eve, in what is seen by some insiders as a major snub to young gun Ryan Tubridy.
The state broadcaster is secretly planning a major live TV event to celebrate its golden jubilee on the eve of 2012.
Well-known faces from RTE's 50 years of broadcasting will join Gaybo for a marathon live show, details of which have been kept under close guard.
The move is a setback for Ryan Tubridy, who's still hurting from the loss of 110,000 listeners from Gerry Ryan's 2FM show.
The Montrose star got the latest season of The Late Late Show off to a flying start when he persuaded Sinead O'Connor to appear on his season opener on Friday night.
In recent weeks, RTE's top brass feared they were about to lose their flagship host Gay Byrne to the Aras, until the veteran broadcaster rejected calls to run for the presidency.
However, sources at the station expressed little surprise that Gay Byrne was chosen ahead of Ryan Tubridy, because the first Late Late Show aired in 1962, shortly after RTE launched.
"Ryan was once the golden boy of RTE, but he's been tested by an unimpressive season on the Late Late and his poor audience figures on the 2FM slot," said the insider.
This month, former Gerry Ryan Show producer Paul Russell was appointed new series producer of the Tubridy Show on 2FM in a bid to lift waning listenership figures.
Russell had been working as a senior figure in RTE's digital radio department before being begged by bosses to return to his old role.
Meanwhile, the RTE anniversary show's producers are in discussions with the BBC over a top star guest who's also set to appear on Later with Jools Holland's New Year's party at the same time.
Global stars like Paul McCartney and Kylie are regular guests on the BBC2 Hootenanny -- but the Beeb's musical bash is pre-recorded, while the event in Dublin is being broadcast live, leaving BBC chiefs worried that their biggest star performer might appear to be in two places at the same time.