‘I’d give her anything she wants,’ admits TV3 boss luring Anne Doyle to join station
EIGHT months after leaving RTE, the country's favourite news anchor could be plotting a comeback -- and on a rival station.
The Irish Independent has learned that Anne Doyle is to meet TV3's director of programmes Ben Frow next month to discuss programme ideas.
"It would be an honour and a privilege to work with Anne Doyle. Would I give her a job? I would give her anything she wanted. We have a lunch booked, and I am dying to meet her," Ben Frow said.
The Wexford woman confirmed last night that she signed a 'non-compete clause' when she took early retirement from RTE last December.
But the clause only lasts for 12 months, which means she will be free to work with other broadcasters in 2013, including TV3.
However, Mr Frow said that should he succeed in tempting the Irish TV legend over to Ballymount, Anne Doyle would not be reading the news on TV3.
"Anne has done a news show. I would only work with her on something she wanted to do. She has a wicked sense of humour. We could do anything, a social experiment, a celeb programme. I have a lot of ideas," said Mr Frow.
Asked last night if she would consider doing more TV work, Anne Doyle said: "I'm not ruling anything in or out. I haven't given it much thought but Mr Frow is a very charming man."
Ahead of the launch of TV3's new autumn schedule this Thursday, Mr Frow unexpectedly called for an end to attacks on RTE's top paid presenters.
Describing Ryan Tubridy -- whose yearly wages have been slashed to less than €373,333 -- Mr Frow said: "You couldn't get anybody for that kind of money in the UK. That's nothing by UK standards. It's peanuts.
"Ryan Tubridy is one of the most famous people in Ireland. He hosts the biggest TV show in Ireland and a radio show five days a week. He certainly does more than Jonathan Ross, who had a three-year contract from the BBC for £18 million. Ryan Tubridy is really good at what he does. No wonder the BBC like him."
The TV boss describes Tubridy, and colleagues Miriam O'Callaghan (this year accepting a 30pc cut on her 2008 salary of €301,667) and Pat Kenny, (30pc down on his 2008 salary of €950,976) as "the great juggernauts" of Irish TV who he said were "worth the money".
"If you add up what they do, and how thinly they are spread, they would be hard to replace. They have the ability to do light and shade," Mr Frow said.
"If Miriam O'Callaghan wasn't there. You'd have to hire presenters to do her 'Miriam Meets', her radio show, her TV chat show, and 'Prime Time', each of whom would have to be paid €100,000, and who's to say they would be any good? Pat Kenny is the same."
However, the UK-born channel boss behind TV hits including 'Jamie's Kitchen', 'Nigella Bites', 'Location Location', and 'You Are What You Eat', said he would be unwilling to hire any of the RTE big guns because he preferred to create his own TV stars.
With his new autumn season featuring new six-part drama 'Deception', Mr Frow said he accepted that previous big ratings winners like 'X Factor', which had it lowest launch ratings on ITV since 2006 last Saturday, might be coming to an end.
He confirmed last night that no Irish acts have made it through to the 'X Factor' series live shows for the first time since 2007.
"'X Factor' is nine years old, and it's natural that it's not going to maintain the numbers it had at its peak. It may not come back next year. Last year they said TV3 couldn't survive without 'The Apprentice' but we have."