Thursday 23 November 2017

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

Pat Kenny and TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick. Pic: Brian McEvoy
Pat Kenny and TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick. Pic: Brian McEvoy

Sasha Brady

TV3's brand new current affairs programme Pat Kenny Tonight kicked off on Wednesday night.

Fronted by Pat Kenny and Colette Fitzpatrick, the show set out to deal with the important news and current affairs issues of the week. Viewers were treated to in-depth analysis, one-on-one interviews with leading political figures and input from members of the 150-strong audience on topics ranging from childcare costs to the rent crisis and increased cost of living in Ireland ahead of Budget 2017. The show sparked plenty of debate on social media and was the biggest trending topic of the evening.

Here are the five most talked about moments.

The price of potatoes

Pat Kenny started the show by holding up a potato and asking the audience to guess the cost of it in other European countries. It was a visual introduction to a discussion on 'rip-off Ireland'. Potatoes are relatable to Irish people, we love potatoes... right? Kenny chatted to audience members who had moved here from different parts of Europe and were struggling to come to terms with our increased cost of living.

Accusations of sexism

The show found itself in the headlines earlier in the week when it was announced it would be called Pat Kenny Tonight, despite being co-presented by Herald columnist Colette Fitzpatrick. Kenny later said that the decision to omit his co-anchor's name was a marketing decision. However, claims of sexism were dished out on Twitter again last night with viewers complaining about the lack of female representation with the all-male discussion panel. Some people also felt that Fitzpatrick didn't get enough air time and her role was consigned to that of Kenny's sidekick.

80's set design

Bright neon beams flashing across a dark backdrop proved to be a bit of a visual assault for some viewers (although not as offensive as Vincent Browne's shocking red background). Twitter users joked that it looked like Quasar centre or laser light show rather than the set of a current affairs programme.

Haven't we seen this before?

Pat Kenny is no stranger to current affairs debate and knows how to steer the audience and panel into a professional, open discussion. However, it's all a a bit 'same-y'. Some jaded viewers felt that we've seen it all before. Pat Kenny Tonight isn't that different to Claire Byrne Live or Kenny's previous gig at Frontline. Yes there was humour (see: potato) and the topics raised brought about plenty of online debate but it's really just another Wednesday night current affairs programme. A trusted formula but isn't it a little tired at this stage?

Hashtag fail

Viewers were shown the Twitter handle @PKTonight which relates to neither the show nor the presenters. The Twitter handle belongs to a Pakistani site which appears to review movies among other things. The graphic was soon dropped during the show. But that's not the only social media fail the show suffered with. Some viewers felt that Twitter notifications that popped up in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen were too distracting. Sure if we wanted to see what people were talking about on Twitter, we could just look at our phones. We know how hashtags work.

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