'George Hook and Vincent Brown will never retire - they're like the creaking gate that goes on forever' - Ivan Yates
Newstalk presenter Ivan Yates has responded to rumours he would replace Vincent Browne on TV3's late night current affairs programme by joking that Browne "will never retire".
It had been reported that Yates would take over from Browne when the 71-year-old makes the decision to step down from Tonight with Vincent Browne.
However, Browne then issued a statement saying, "My contract with TV3 extend beyond three years, by which time I expect I will negotiate a ten year extension."
Speaking at the launch of TV3's new autumn schedule, Yates said, "I facetiously said about George Hook and Vincent Browne, but I'm long past the stage of realising they'll never retire.
"They're like the creaking gate that goes on forever. God damn them!"
However, TV3 may be paving the way for Yates with his plum new presenting role alongside Anna Daly on Sunday AM, a sister programme to Saturday AM, both of which are extensions of the hugely popular weekday Ireland AM brand.
Sunday AM aims to tackle politics and current affairs and kicked off last week with a show that bagged an impressive 139,000 reach..
"It was a bit of a learning curve for me because there's a lot of logistics and moving parts and controls and teases and VTs and autocues and stings and all this kind of lingo," he said.
"It's slightly different and more elaborate than radio but the live component is the same, the chat component is the same and I really enjoyed working with Anna."
He added, "I think the potential of it is fantastic and I hope over 30 shows we can grow it into a really solid base as the only live option at that particularly time, after 9."
As for whether an early Sunday morning audience has an appetite for politics, Yates believes they do.
"If you look at Britain and if you look at Andrew Marr's programme on the BBC, if you look at a lot of the chat shows in American TV in current affairs, they're on a Sunday and I think we have hit on a little bit of an opportunity there," he said.
"The Saturday programme is different, people are chilling out, but I think people, particularly the type of more business, opinion-forming audience will see it as an opportunity to set the agenda a little bit."
Yates' Newstalk Breakfast show, which he co-hosts with Chris Donoghue, gained 26,000 listeners in the past year according to the most recent JLNLR figures, and now reaches an audience of 173,000.
He's not abandoning it anytime soon, nor does he have any plans to do any more TV.
"I'm happy just to do Sunday and I'm busy enough with Newstalk and I'm on that trajectory until at least summer next year. I'll get through that and see if I'm standing after that," he said.
"I started at Newstalk full time in April 2009 and I never, ever thought I'd last this long. It was an entirely accidental career. I never trained for it and I'm expecting it to implode any day now!"