RYAN Tubridy is getting a part-time summer job with the BBC. He will present a Saturday morning show from 10am to 1pm on BBC Radio 2 from July 23 until the middle of September.
A source close to the father-of-two said that, although the deal would not be confirmed for at least two weeks, the BBC is already booking flights for the 37-year-old to fly to London on Friday nights, present the programme on Saturday morning and then return to Dublin later that day.
Following in the footsteps of Gay Byrne, who also worked in England, Tubridy will be filling in for fellow Irishman Graham Norton, who took over the slot from Jonathan Ross.
"It's a very similar show to what Ryan does on 2fm in terms of guests and the music played," said the source.
With a salary of €533,000 from RTE, there has already been speculation about how much the BBC will pay Tubridy for his summer work.
But one TV personality with experience of working for both Irish and UK broadcasters, said the fee would be "modest".
"Pay would be at the bottom of the list for Ryan and his agent Noel Kelly. The fact that the BBC is knocking on the door is enough. This looks good for any broadcaster," the broadcaster said.
This is the BBC's second approach to Tubridy, who they contacted last summer with a similar offer.
However, the 'Late Late Show' host turned down their first approach because of work commitments and it coming too soon after the passing of his friend and mentor, Gerry Ryan.
"Ryan thought that would be the last he would hear from the BBC so he was delighted when they got back in contact recently. They are very keen," said the source.
The source described reports that RTE had been in the dark about Tubridy's BBC summer work as "wrong".
"RTE were made fully aware of the BBC's contact with Ryan and have given him their full blessing to go ahead," said the source.
The insider said that Tubridy had assured RTE management that his role as presenter of the 'Late Late Show' and on 2fm would not be affected by the summer work with the BBC.
"Ryan loves a new challenge and that's exactly what this is," added the source.
"He has strong family commitments in Ireland. Stories that he is 'definitely leaving RTE for the BBC' are just speculation."
Speaking on his 2fm programme yesterday, Tubridy said: "I'm here and I love it. I'm really happy and I won't be going anywhere today or tomorrow."
Gay Byrne, a long-time friend, said Tubridy had consulted him recently about whether he should take up the BBC's offer.
"I had discussions with Ryan two weeks ago and I told him this was a wonderful idea. I think it will allow him to meet new people and get experience working with another broadcaster," said Byrne, who worked for both RTE and Granada TV in the UK during the early 1960s.
However, he said he had warned Tubridy about trying to juggle TV and radio work on both sides of the Irish Sea, full-time.
"You just can't do that with a five-day-a-week radio show and the 'Late Late Show' on Fridays but why not in the summer when you have more time?" said Byrne.