Sunday 25 March 2018

Gaybo says claims of rivalry with Kenny are 'rubbish'

RTE broadcasters Gay Byrne and Pat Kenny on 'The
Late Late Show'
RTE broadcasters Gay Byrne and Pat Kenny on 'The Late Late Show'

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

GAY Byrne last night dismissed claims of an intense rivalry between him and fellow broadcaster Pat Kenny as "bloody rubbish".

The claims are contained in a new, official, book on the history of RTE.

Minutes from an RTE Authority meeting that took place during the early 1990s -- when Gaybo was fronting 'The Late Late Show' and his daily morning radio show -- record that Kenny believed he was "better than Gay Byrne and wanted a salary increase in line with him".

But Mr Kenny (61) said last night he had "no recollection" of making the comments recorded in the minutes.

And Mr Byrne (77) said there was no question of a bitter rivalry between the pair.

"Pat Kenny and Gay Byrne tearing each other's eyes out? Us hating and detesting each other?

"It's just total bloody rubbish," Mr Byrne told the Irish Independent.

"Until this revelation, I knew nothing about his feelings -- that he always thought that he was better than I was, and deserved more money.

"Pat Kenny has always been a friend and a colleague.

"Of course, we had TV shows that competed for guests but I never had those feelings towards Pat, and I know he doesn't have those feelings towards me."

The new book, 'Window and Mirror -- RTE Television 1961-2011', is written by RTE veteran John Bowman.

It details how Mr Kenny sought a meeting with the RTE Authority to put forward his case for a pay rise.

In the minutes of the meeting, the then Director General Vincent Finn is quoted as telling the authority that Mr Kenny "feels very strongly about the Gay Byrne thing.

"He does not like being number two, and in many ways he believes he is better than Gay Byrne and there was all that kind of undercurrent to his attitude," he said.

But Mr Kenny last night played down suggestions of a rift between the two broadcasters.

"There was never pistols at dawn between Gay and myself because there was never any doubt as to, in television terms, who was the boss: it was Gay Byrne," he said.

"Gay carved out a niche that didn't exist before, discussed topics never discussed before and took on the establishment in a populist way, never done before in Ireland. Gay is the original."


'The Frontline' host said he "no recollection" of making any such comments about Mr Byrne.

"It could have been someone representing me at the time, saying 'Pat Kenny thinks he is better than Gay Byrne'," he said.

"I don't know, as I never did the negotiations myself.

"Back then obviously there was a battle for ratings, 'Kenny Live' would sometimes overtake 'The Late Late Show' in the ratings and there would be a competition for guests, but I always kept out of that.

"Myself and Gay remained pals throughout and as late as last Thursday myself and Gay had a drink together at the launch of Joe Duffy's book," added Mr Kenny.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Byrne described the new history as a "superb book" on his Sunday afternoon Lyric FM programme.

Irish Independent

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