TV3 denies axing Brian McFadden as Maria Walsh gets Toy Show role
TV3 has insisted it did not axe Brian McFadden after it didn't ask him to return to this year's Toy Show.
"We just wanted to go with someone new. He wasn't axed, we hadn't considered him for the role this year," a spokesperson for the station told the Herald.
TV3 announced the hosts for its second toy show, handing the candy cane crown to popular presenter Brian Ormond and former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh.
As last year's co-host, Xpose presenter Karen Koster, has limited her working schedule to focus on her family, the station also decided to replace McFadden, a spokesperson said.
The station said it was not intentionally planning on having different hosts each year, with a spokesperson adding: "We'll see how it goes this year."
McFadden and Koster had fronted the inaugural Christmas toy show for the station last year. However, following her maternity leave, busy mum Karen, who is expecting her second child, opted to return to the station on a part-time basis only.
Former Rose of Tralee Maria Ward said she was delighted to be chosen for the show, and was bracing herself for an onslaught of calls from friends and family seeking tickets.
"When they approached me to do it I said why not, I'm full of the Christmas cheer but I know I'm going to get a lot of calls."
Since moving back to Ireland full time, Maria has been concentrating on her television career, and recently made her TV3 presenting debut on The Seven O'Clock Show.
"It's been great and I have two more guest slots lined up so things are looking good," she added.
But she revealed she would be approaching presenting pro Karen for some advice on the show.
"Karen gave me a lovely shout out at the end of Xpose and I'll definitely be calling her for some tips.
"She's a busy mum, with another baby on the way and she'll have all the Christmas," said Maria.
Former Westlife star Brian McFadden found himself in the spotlight prior to last year's show after he got into an unseemly row with a community radio host over his appearance and fee.
He controversially told Near FM DJ Jamie Jay Car that he was going to receive "probably your salary" for the one-off show.
That spat was exacerbated when a UK-based accountant for McFadden mistakenly emailed the presenter's €5,000 invoice for the TV3 Toy Show to the entire TV3 newsroom.
This year TV3 will also air a special programme showing the casting for the TV3 Toy Show. In a bid to find this year's talented young performers and 'Toy Testers', Maria met hundreds of short-listed candidates in the Sean O'Casey community centre in Dublin's East wall.
The TV3 Toy Show will air on Friday, November 20, at 9pm.