Tuesday 12 December 2017

Exclusive: Chris Donoghue quits as UTV Ireland Live anchor

Chris Donoghue
Chris Donoghue
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Broadcaster Chris Donoghue is to quit his presenter role on UTV’s nightly news, independent.ie can reveal.

The 31-year-old is to vacate his position as co-anchor on Ireland Live in December, less than a year after being unveiled as one of the new station’s big name signings.

Donoghue, who also presents Newstalk Breakfast with Ivan Yates, confirmed to independent.ie that he resigned last Friday.

He is currently presenting his radio programme from 7-10am each morning before switching to television for Ireland Live at 10pm three nights a week. He co-anchored the hour-long programme with Alison Comyn.

Donoghue has been offered a new role with UTV, making documentaries for their series ‘Inisight’.

However, his decision to leave the nightly news slot is a major blow for UTV which is struggling to compete with RTÉ and TV3.

Read more: UTV Ireland teatime news moves back to 5.30pm as hourly news updates are announced for weekdays

UTV’s 5.30pm news bulletin is consistently being beaten by TV3, while the latest figures for hour-long Ireland Live show it is achieving audiences of less than 40,000.

“Last week I resigned from Ireland Live News on UTV Ireland. I’ve been working across 19-hour days now for a year and something had to give.

“I have to focus on Newstalk Breakfast which has always been my full-time job,” he said.

“However, I’m happy about the subsequent offer of the Insight programme from management at UTV Ireland.

“I’ve made some great friends and worked with some brilliant colleagues, particularly Alison Comyn,” Mr Donoghue added. 

Read more: UTV Ireland may switch flagship news show to take on TV3

In a statement to independent.ie, UTV’s Head of Channel Mary Curtis confirmed that Donoghue will step down in “early December”.

“Thereafter, Chris will work with UTV Ireland on our successful documentary series, ‘Insight’ – a series of special programmes produced by the Ireland Live News team.    

“We fully understand Chris’s decision and we are delighted to be continuing our relationship with such an exceptional journalist and broadcaster,” she said.

His departure comes just weeks after news that UTV has decided not to renew Pat Kenny’s talk show ‘In the Round’ for a second season.

It is almost exactly a year since Donoghue was unveiled as one of the faces of the new station.

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