Revealed: Irish stars set to bank €5k for Celebrity Operation Transformation
Ireland's curvy celebrities will be adding some serious weight to their bank balance with RTE's new celebrity version of Operation Transformation.
Some well-known faces are being offered a fee of up to €5,000 to appear on the forthcoming programme, the Herald can reveal.
Kathryn Thomas will take centre stage as host of the celebrity instalment of the programme, which is guaranteed to be one of the hits of RTE's autumn schedule.
While it's a show that some Irish celebrities may balk at being asked to appear on, their lucrative fee should ease any embarrassment over their weight issues.
Unlike the regular version of the show, which pulls in over 500,000 viewers for RTE, these celebrities' blushes will be spared as they won't have to strip down to their underwear.
Casting for the new show is under way with a short-list of six celebrities expected to be announced shortly.
One inside source said that the initial approach to the each contestant will be handled diplomatically, given the weighty subject matter at hand.
"Nobody wants to be told that they're overweight and would be a good candidate for a weight-loss show.
"So it's being approached like it's more of a lifestyle issue and then the person is asked if they have any bad habits that they'd like to change in terms of their eating," he said.
TV presenter Kathryn recently revealed to the Herald how she was busy working on an "exciting" new project which will start filming next month.
"It's happening in August or September, a new TV project. It's exciting. It's not something that I've ever done before," she said.
Celebrity fitness trainer Karl Henry will also be working on the celebrity version of the show, which will mark its tenth anniversary this year.
However, Dr Eva Orsmond won't be involved as she has "too much on" to be part of the show - but she wished the programme well.
Following a similar format to the regular version, the show will challenge contestants to shed the pounds through a number of weekly challenges.
They will be helped by a panel of experts in the fields of fitness, nutrition and psychology.
Being made by Vision Independent Productions, RTE confirmed a celebrity version of the show had gone into pre-production.
"We are currently developing a spin-off series of Operation Transformation which we hope to air in early autumn. However, we're not in a position to comment further on it at this time."
This year's Operation Transformation got a thumbs-up fromTV viewers. Its audience share was up 7pc on last year, with 482,700 people tuning in each week.
The new celebrity programme will also link in with RTE Radio 1's Ray D'Arcy Show.