The metaphorical ink was barely dry on the announcement that Ryan Tubridy was leaving The Late Late Show when bookies started training an eye on possible replacements.
All the usual suspects were present and correct: at the time of writing, BoyleSports has Miriam O’Callaghan as favourite to take over the presenter’s chair, with Brendan O’Connor, Claire Byrne, Tommy Tiernan, Ray D’Arcy and Sarah McInerney following close behind.
All wonderful and engaging broadcasters, even if there is the unmistakeable air of Eau de Montrose about the list. It’s all so very predictable. So establishment. So expected.
Naturally, my mind has wandered across to a scenario in which RTÉ, in their infinite wisdom, decide to buck convention altogether and decide on a new, largely untested broadcasting entity.
The country is full of bright new things who could hold their own and possibly even breathe a whole new life into RTÉ’s flagship show. Imagine?
Without further ado, I’ve started my own betting pool:
Panti, the drag alter-ego of Rory O’Neill, has already proven herself as a fine mistress of ceremonies, not just for Alternative Miss Ireland, but the Panti Personals podcast.
The hyper-glamorous drag artist has built up a sizeable following down the years between her brilliant activism and, more recently, a memorable turn on Dancing with the Stars. Middle Ireland might just choke on their Bovril on Friday nights, but that’s a risk I’d be more than willing to take.
She’s got the funnies, she’s got the interviewing chops and she has enough energy to power the national grid.
If anyone can handle a few hours of light entertainment action on a Friday night, it’s Garrihy.
Proving herself well able to helm a flagship show (well, co-helm), Garrihy has had a strong showing since she went viral on social media in 2016 with an impersonation of Donald Trump.
Fun fact: she also enrolled at the Billie Barry stage school and Twink’s drama school at the exact same time as a child. That’s commitment.
Mescal is a man in demand and possibly too busy with the acting to sign on the dotted line here, but the man has managed to make Ballyhaunis, Argos chains, GAA shorts and sausages into something aspirational and cool.
Blow some of that stardust all over The Late Late Show, why don’t you? It’s the boost our Friday night needs.
When it comes to dues, Lottie Ryan is fully paid up. A consistent and professional radio presence, Ryan has been in recent times mooted for her own 2FM show after a rigorous shake-up, and then a presenting gig on Dancing with the Stars.
Neither materialised, leaving media watchers in no doubt that her time will eventually come. The Late Late Show being her big break would certainly be cat-among-the-pigeons stuff.
Working as a reporter on the likes of Nationwide and The Afternoon Show, Colm Flynn is one of RTÉ’s best “foot soldier” reporters, talking to a wide range of interview subjects with an admirable smoothness.
His client list also includes the Associated Press, the BBC and EWTN (the Eternal World Television Network, a Catholic TV station) – something that might keep the old dears happy.
The comedian made a name for himself putting some of our best and most infamous cultural moments (like Aoife McGregor’s voice note) to music. Just envision a situation where Michael is asking the difficult questions, or talking geopolitical sensitivities, but in the style of a Noughties indie band. Here for it.
Comedian Doran held her own during her first solo outing on The Late Late Show last month, and was hailed as “effortlessly funny” by viewers. A straight-shooter who has already proved she can keep an audience in the palm of her hand.
Truly, who doesn’t love the one-time Big Brother contestant? Naturally effervescent, the Kildare-born broadcaster would certainly bring no shortage of enthusiasm to the gig. Come to think of it, a two-hander with hubby Arthur Gourounlian could be the shot in the arm The Late Late Show needs.
Another potential who will probably be, well, fairly busy in the coming months, Cairns has already blown through one tired establishment with the might and vim of a great big whirligig. Also, can you think of anyone who could better ask the really hard questions? I’ll wait.
Has amassed a huge following in his native Ireland, despite having had much of his broadcasting career happen in the US, on CNN. O’Sullivan is a rare breed of broadcaster who is both a political sharp-shooter who holds people to task, and a warmly amiable guy.
DCU graduate Boladale is another RTÉ newcomer who has made stealthy and impressive strides in a short amount of time.
Originally hired as a presenter on News2Day when she arrived at Montrose just shy of her 20th birthday, Ireland’s news programme for kids, Boladale soon found her way onto Nationwide. She is certainly one to watch in the future.