CLAIRE Byrne and George Lee are two of the big winners in a schedule shake-up announced by RTE today.
Mr Lee, who left the national broadcaster when he was elected a Fine Gael TD before subsequently resigning his new role, has been brought back in from the cold and will have a central role on ‘Prime Time’.
He will be joined on the flagship programme by Ms Byrne, who has recently hosted the show while Richard Crowley was on holiday.
The new schedule will also see RTE One producing a new morning news programme which will air between 9am and 11am from early next year.
Other changes announced by Kevin Bakhurst, the station’s new head of news and current affairs, include Pat Kenny’s ‘Frontline’ show moving to a new 9.30pm, while Mr Kenny and Miriam O’Callaghan will remain at the heart of the broadcaster’s current affairs output, Mr Bakhurst said.
However, it is the return to prominence of George Lee that will be of most interest to viewers. Lee was one of the most popular and influential presenters on RTE in his role as economics editor but left the station to stand in the Dublin South by-election in June 2009.
He was elected to the Dail which a huge vote but resigned just nine months later, claiming he had little or no influence in shaping Fine Gael’s economic policies.
RTE said today that he will bring “his economic and business expertise” to Prime Time, but confirmed that Mr Lee – along with Mr Kenny, Ms O’Callaghan and Ms Byrne – will all continue to host their respective radio shows.
Other changes will see ‘The Week in Politics’ programme broadcast live at midday on RTE One on Sundays – as well as later that night – while the station is to announce new science and technology correspondents and a new GAA correspondent shortly.