Late Late guests cost €250,000 for season
RTE paid €250,000 last year to have guests appear on 'The Late Late Show'.
And that figure -- which is funded by the licence fee -- doesn't include refreshments or make-up costs.
Information obtained by the Irish Independent reveals the first season of RTE's flagship show under Ryan Tubridy proved a pricey one as the basic bill for staging the programme came in at more than €408,000.
This does not include the salary paid out to Tubridy or the salaries of the broadcaster's staff who work on the show.
Tubridy's salary is now estimated at around €480,000 after he took a substantial cut in pay as part of cutbacks at Montrose, before taking the post. In 2008, he earned €533,333.
A spokeswoman for RTE stressed the broadcaster believed the show "offers good value for money" and was staged as "cost-efficiently as possible".
"'The Late Late Show' is in its 49th season and continues to attract an average share of 50pc," she added.
More than 700,000 viewers watch the show every week on average, which continues to be a money-spinner in terms of its sponsorship and advertising slots. It struck a lucrative sponsorship deal with Quinn Insurance for a fee believed to be six figures.
Information obtained under a Freedom of Information request show RTE paid around €250,000 in fees, accommodation and other costs for guests.
Among the well-known people who appeared on 'The Late Late Show' in Tubridy's first season were Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson, singer Jermaine Jackson, actress Liz Hurley and American teen sensation Miley Cyrus.
The appearance fees paid to guests amounted to €149,230, or €3,927 an episode, during the 2009/2010 season.
An RTE spokeswoman stated the broadcaster paid a fee for guests, including contributors and musicians, to talk or perform on the show. However, in instances where they were promoting projects such as a book or a film then no fee was paid.
RTE refused to reveal the exact amount it paid to the various stars who appeared, as this was deemed "commercially sensitive" information. The station warned revealing such details might in turn drive up the cost of making the show.
RTE also paid out €104,047 -- around €2,700 an episode -- to cover accommodation, flights and taxis for guests.
RTE doesn't pay any money to guests for meals but it seems it can be thirsty work starring on the show or appearing in the audience, as the tab for drinks amounted to €35,544, or €935 an episode.
"Over 8,000 people attend in the audience over the course of a season," a spokesman said.
However, there is no record available on the number of guests, musicians, performers and their entourages entertained during the shows.
More than €6,200 was spent ensuring Tubridy looked dapper in his suits, with the clothes remaining part of the RTE wardrobe. Make-up and hair costs were a measly €1,010, or €27 per show, but this was in addition to the labour costs of RTE's make-up department.
A further one-off cost for the show was the almost €113,000 cost of implementing the major overhaul of the set when Tubridy took over from Pat Kenny. The Darragh Treacy designed-set, which boasts the same chair as used by Meryl Streep in 'The Devil Wears Prada', last year scooped the best TV set design category at the Institute of Designers in Ireland awards.