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From Erica Cody to Donal Skehan – how RTÉ is casting net far and wide to replace Nicky Byrne on Dancing With The Stars

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Jennifer Zamparelli with former Dancing With The Stars co-presenter Nicky Byrne. Photo: Barry McCall

Jennifer Zamparelli with former Dancing With The Stars co-presenter Nicky Byrne. Photo: Barry McCall

Jennifer Zamparelli with former Dancing With The Stars co-presenter Nicky Byrne. Photo: Barry McCall

Stepping into Nicky Byrne’s shoes on the new series of Dancing With The Stars may be one of the most coveted slots on Irish TV.

Little wonder then that RTÉ are casting the net far and wide when it comes to suitable candidates to replace him.

A number of well-known personalities have been invited in to screen-test for the role opposite Jennifer Zamparelli as producers try to find the perfect presenting duo for the flagship Sunday night show.

Among those who have been considered in recent times are singers Lyra and Erica Coady, influencer James Patrice, celebrity chef Donal Skehan and GAA commentator Anna Geary.

Former show winner Lottie Ryan has also been linked with the role, given that she already fronts the programme’s official podcast, which features the Cork-born star Lyra. The popular singer previously performed on the show and is among those in the mix for the role.

An inside source said that producers are determined to find the right presenter for the high-profile gig but the problem is that Ireland has a finite pool of talent to choose from.

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Dublin singer Erica Cody is a contender to replace Nicky Byrne on Dancing With The Stars. Photo: Barry McCall

Dublin singer Erica Cody is a contender to replace Nicky Byrne on Dancing With The Stars. Photo: Barry McCall

Dublin singer Erica Cody is a contender to replace Nicky Byrne on Dancing With The Stars. Photo: Barry McCall

“They need someone who is already well-known, like Nicky Byrne, but who obviously has the right on-screen chemistry with Jennifer. It has to be someone experienced who is used to the pressures of a live show with such a big audience.

"There’s not that many who would fit the bill so they have screen-tested loads of different people for the role to make sure they get it right,” she said.

Former show winner Lottie Ryan has also been linked with the role, given that she already fronts the programme’s official podcast, which features the Cork-born star Lyra.

Byrne confirmed last month that he was quitting the show as he was touring internationally with Westlife, having co-fronted the entertainment show since 2017.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this show, full of glitz and glamour and, of course, being a part of everyone’s Sunday night winter TV viewing,” he said. “It has been a brilliant five seasons since we launched in 2017, working with the best crew in the world.

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TV chef Donal Skehan has been considered by RTÉ bosses as a contender to replace Nicky Byrne on Dancing With The Stars Ireland. Photo: Conor O’Mearain/Collins Photos

TV chef Donal Skehan has been considered by RTÉ bosses as a contender to replace Nicky Byrne on Dancing With The Stars Ireland. Photo: Conor O’Mearain/Collins Photos

TV chef Donal Skehan has been considered by RTÉ bosses as a contender to replace Nicky Byrne on Dancing With The Stars Ireland. Photo: Conor O’Mearain/Collins Photos

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“I have smiled and laughed my way through those 59 shows to date and what a journey it’s been. I take away the greatest memories.”

When asked about plans for the new series, which airs in January 2023, an RTÉ spokesperson said that “no decision” has been made on Byrne’s replacement. “We look forward to Dancing With The Stars returning to RTÉ One in 2023,” said the spokesperson.

One of its most popular shows, the ShinAwil-produced programme attracts an average of more than 500,000 viewers and has been an important platform for many Irish stars.


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