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Thursday 23 January 2020

Pat Kenny's 40-year TV show evolution

Pat Kenny in the early days of his radio career at RTE
Pat Kenny in the early days of his radio career at RTE
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Pat Kenny has graced our TV screens since the mid 70s when he moonlighted as a continuity announcer at RTE whilst also lecturing in engineering at Bolton St.

His career with the State broadcast spanned 41 years and saw him front an array of shows from current affairs vehicles like Today Tonight to lighter fare like the Eurovision.

Last year he severed ties with RTE to bag a plum role hosting a morning chat show on Newtalk, which now has 134,000 listeners (up from the 114,000 he had when the last Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) survey results were published in May).

And now he's poised to return to his first love, television, with a new series on UTV Ireland, launching in 2015. He's come a long way from Today Tonight.

Today Tonight hit Irish screens in 1980 and when Kenny joined in the mid-1980s it was Ireland's biggest current affairs TV show.

Pat Kenny in the early days of his TV career in the mid-1980s


Pat ventured into the realms of light entertainment when he co-hosted the Eurovision Song Contest with Michelle Rocca at the RDS in 1988.   It was the year Celine Dion won for Switzerland.



That year he also fronted his own Saturday night chat show called Kenny Live, the cheeky younger brother of Gay Byrne's Friday night Late Late Show.  His Kenny Live stint came to an end at the turn of the millennium. 


That same year, 1999, Kenny took over from Gay Byrne to host the institution that is the Late Late Show.


Ten years later he announced he was leaving. Ryan Tubridy was subsequently named as his successor.


In September 2009, Kenny returned to current affairs, presenting The Frontline each Monday night on RTÉ One.



The Frontline finished up in December 2012 and shortly thereafter Kenny was unveiled as one of three presenters to front the reinvigorated Primetime current affairs series alongside Miraim O'Callaghan and Claire Byrne.


In July last year Pat made the shock announcement that he was leaving RTE to front a morning chat show on commercial radio station Newstalk.

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