RTE's Claire Byrne Live hits ratings high as Pat Kenny in the Round launches on UTV Ireland
Claire Byrne Live's Marriage Referendum Debate was a ratings winner for RTE One last night as it hit its highest audience of the season.
The debate was watched by an average of 368,000 and a reach of 715,000 tuned in over the course of the show which ran for an hour from 9.35pm.
The first episode of Pat Kenny's new interview show, Pat Kenny in the Round, kicked off on UTV Ireland at 9pm and commanded an average audience of 150,000 with an overall reach of 349,000.
Speaking about the ratings, Mary Curtis, Head of Channel at UTV Ireland, said, "We are delighted with the performance of Pat’s first show.
"The reaction from viewers and media coverage has been fantastic, whilst social media has also been alive with positive comments about Mickey Harte’s strength and honesty."
She added, “Last night’s debut episode delivered a 33% increase in viewing figures for the 9pm slot.."
Pat's strong start was no match for Claire Byrne Live, however, which featured particularly strong content with the marriage referendum debate.
It was the highest rating show of the season so far for Claire Byrne, prompting an audience response on social media totalling more than 15,000 tweets.
The programme saw Minister Simon Coveney TD go head to head with no campaigner, Independent Senator Ronán Mullen.
Also offering their take on the referendum were Chair of the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Geoffrey Shannon, as well as no campaigner Paddy Manning and Colin Farrell's brother Eamon Farrell.
Although Pat Kenny in the Round goes head to head with the hugely popular Claire Byrne Live on Monday nights, Pat believes there's room enough for both.
"If I was to come back with something like The Frontline and was up against Claire, who is a buddy of mine, it would've been odd," he told The Herald.
"But they're two different kinds of programmes. People can watch either or both."
Although his new show has started strong, Pat also said he does not feel the pressure he felt working to maintain top ratings in RTE.
"When you have massive ratings, you spend your entire life defending those ratings. On a Monday after a Late Late Show you'd be looking at the ratings intensely," he said.
"A nice thing in Newstalk, where I'm trying to build and grow ratings, is that I'm not being pitched against others like Gaybo, or anybody else.
"This [In The Round] is a new thing, and if it's good it will grow. That's a nice way to be."
Pat Kenny in the Round will broadcast four more shows on Monday nights on UTV Ireland at 9pm before taking a break for the summer. Claire Byrne Live airs at 9.35pm on Monday nights on RTE One.