Maura Derrane celebrates as Today beats RTE chat show curse
Champagne corks were popping for TV presenter Maura Derrane as she celebrated her husband's election news over the weekend.
The delighted mum of one was up until 4am after the news that her husband - Fine Gael TD John Deasy - had, unlike a lot of his colleagues, been re-elected to the Dail.
However, Maura has had more than one reason to celebrate of late with the news that her chat show Today, which she co-hosts with Daithi O Se, is beating the dreaded curse of the RTE afternoon chat show.
The Cork based show - now in its fourth series - has steadily grown its audience and recently enjoyed a peak of 250,000 viewers and a 23pc audience share.
The national broadcaster had a history of unsuccessful afternoon shows, including Seoige and O'Shea.
But Today has proved a "slow burner" and Maura said this could be down to the show's location.
"I think because we are away from everything, down in Cork there has been less pressure on us - we could work away and do our own thing," Maura told the Diary.
"We could test the market a bit more and it took us a while to decide what works and what doesn't.
"The team behind us works very hard and the advantage of being in Cork is that we don't have the big stars so we have to work harder to get better items on the show."
Maura also feels that the male/female dynamic on the show works well as she and her 'TV husband' Daithi O Se understand one another.
"I think we have definitely added more male viewers to the show and we bounce off one another very well. The show has really settled and I think people have become used to having us in their homes every day.
Production staff are always looking for new ways to spruce up the format, including revamped opening credits, which feature a vibrant animation of Daithi and Maura against a backdrop of Cork landmarks.
"They were definitely very kind to me when they were doing the animation," laughed Maura, who is mum to 21-month-old son Cal.
The presenter, who gave birth to Cal at the age of 43, said her young son is thriving.
"He is just a dote and he is doing great - he is keeping me busy but is so much fun," she told the Diary.
While they have fun on the show, it was back to serious business for Maura and Daithi as they did an exclusive interview with the father of late singer Amy Winehouse.