BROADCASTER Grainne Seoige has lost out on hosting the biggest talent show ever staged by RTE.
Instead her rival Kathryn Thomas has got the coveted presenter role of 'The Voice of Ireland', which will air next year.
Kathryn will be joined by Eoghan McDermott, who will be the backstage presenter. He is currently presenting on UK radio and TG4.
'The Voice Of Ireland' takes its name from an audition process where judges sit with their backs to the contestants so they only hear their voices.
On hearing the news while on holiday in Ibiza, Kathryn said: "I'm delighted -- completely thrilled. It's a huge gig for me; a really big step. It's the kind of show that I've always longed to host. This is the best news."
"Kathryn's likeability just shone through in the screen tests. She has a warmth with people which makes her perfect for the part," an RTE source told the Irish Independent last night.
It is understood that Talpa Media, the Dutch company run by TV producer John Del Mol, who owns the international format of 'The Voice', were impressed by the Carlow woman's screentest.
Bill Malone, commissioning editor of entertainment at RTE Television, said: "Kathryn Thomas is an exceptional talent who has been a dynamic and versatile host on some of RTE One's most popular programmes such as 'No Frontiers', 'Winning Streak' and 'Operation Transformation'. I look forward to her bringing more of that magic to our screens."
RTE's decision to cast Thomas and not Grainne Seoige is the latest blow to the Galway woman.
Earlier this summer, ITV executive Ian Rumsey, who headhunted Seoige to appear on morning show 'Daybreak', stepped down from his role because of poor ratings.
Shortly afterwards Seoige disappeared from ITV screens, and revealed at RTE's new season launch that she had resigned from her role on the 'Daybreak' as features editor.
"I have resigned from my post as features editor on 'Daybreak' but I still have my relationship with ITV and discussions are ongoing," Seoige told the Irish Independent.
The brunette said her decision to leave the ITV breakfast show was down to the difficulties of juggling her work on both British and Irish channels.
"You can't be over here shooting a documentary series and over there getting up at 3am. You can't bi-locate and anyway it was time to do other things," she said.
Seoige will play a large role in RTE's new season, presenting five different programmes including documentary series ' Grainne Seoige's Modern Life', sports quiz 'Put Them Under Pressure', GAA specials 'Up For The Match', garda reconstruction programme 'Crimecall' and 'The People Of the Year Awards'.
None of the programmes match 'The Voice Of Ireland' in terms of prestige on RTE.
The former newscaster's links to axed RTE talent show 'The All Ireland Talent Show' may also have hurt her chances.
"'The Voice' is the show which Grainne really wanted to be presenting on RTE this year.
"RTE were bigging up Grainne as the schedule launch earlier this month but these programmes were very much consolation prizes for not getting 'The Voice Of Ireland'," said a station insider. The series will air early next year.