Saturday 18 November 2017

Amanda Brunker on Pat Kenny Tonight sexism row: 'Colette Fitzpatrick doesn't make tea for the show, she co-presents it'

Pat Kenny and Colette Fitzpatrick. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Pat Kenny and Colette Fitzpatrick. Picture: Brian McEvoy

Amanda Brunker

What’s in a name? More to the point, what’s in the exclusion of a name?

Colette Fitzpatrick had a busy week with her new breakfast radio show on Newstalk, her regular news anchor job at TV3 and the new current affairs series, Pat Kenny Tonight.

If you haven’t seen it, no, Colette doesn’t make the tea for the show, she co-presents it with Pat. Not that you could tell from the title.

If Colette were writing today, I’m sure she’d mention the show that aired on Wednesday night as all went well. It was a ratings hit for TV3, and apart from a minor on-screen Twitter gaffe that instructed the audience to message @PKTonight (which is actually a site in Pakistan that reviews movies), its discussion on the cost of living in Ireland included a balanced mix of political types and regular people.

Read more: 'There is an equality' - Pat Kenny defends new show from sexism claims

What she possibly wouldn’t have mentioned was the controversy at being blanked from the show’s title. She hasn’t gone on record to say she was unimpressed with being left out, but how could she?

Instead, viewers took up her cause on social media to publicly slate TV3 for the decision.

“True sexism. It’s a disgrace. WTF? Why doesn’t Colette have equal billing when she shares an equal part of the presenting?” was one message.

While I hate to bite the hand that feeds – especially the only TV station that has allowed me to have my name in the title of my show (Danger! Amanda at work) last year – I was disappointed with the title of the programme.

Read more: Five talking points from Pat Kenny Tonight - potatoes to lasers and more sexism claims

For the record, I adore Pat. We’ve been friends a long time. He’s always been good to me and even had my older artist sister on his Saturday night talk show long before me. I’m not angry at the legend that is Pat Kenny for hogging the limelight, but I’ll wager he had a better agent to negotiate the deal.

Sadly, this sort of marketing goes on all the time. Must I remind everyone of The Nicky Byrne radio show? Two years ago in a fanfare of publicity, Westlifer Nicky Byrne was announced as one of the saviours of 2FM. The fact that he co-hosted the show with DJ Jenny Greene who has been working in radio since her teens was ignored.

Considering that Nicky Byrne is often absent from the show, it has recently been re-branded The Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene. Charitable, don’t you think? Why it can’t be called Lunchtime with Jenny and Nicky I don’t know.

While I would never claim to be any marketing guru, I have a few ideas for the TV3 producers in case they feel inspired to rebrand the show at any stage.

Considering Pat very successfully presented a generically branded show similar to this new one called The Frontline on RTE, why couldn’t something like Nightly Roundup or News Tonight or The Review with Pat  and Colette work?

I know I’m just a little woman moaning about little wimmin stuff, but give us a little equality. Colette is worth it.

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