Monday 21 October 2019

When RTE divas disagree: Marian dismisses Miriam’s chances of Late Late job

Miriam O'Callaghan. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Miriam O'Callaghan. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Marian Finucane. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Barry Dugan and Ken Sweeney

A WAR of words has broken out between RTE’s highest profile female broadcasters with Marian Finucane dismissing Miriam O'Callaghan's chances of becoming the next host of 'The Late Late Show'.

Weekend radio presenter Marian said a woman will never get the 'Late Late' hot seat.

She conceded that her colleague Miriam O'Callaghan does a good job, but said that presenting RTE's flagship show was likely to remain a preserve of their male colleagues.

But speaking to the Irish Independent, Ms O'Callaghan disagreed with her RTE colleague.

"I have huge respect for Marian but in this case I have to disagree. I don't think anything is set in stone as regards it having to be a male host of 'The Late Late Show'," she said.

"Remember at one stage it was said a woman could never be the President of Ireland, then the right woman came along and things changed.

"The same could easily happen with 'The Late Late Show'."

The mother-of-eight paid tribute to Ms Finucane who she said had burned a path for her and other women broadcasters at the station.

But Ms Finucane believes the world's longest running chat show, which began in 1962, will continue to have a male host.

Asked yesterday would a woman ever present 'The Late Late Show', Ms Finucane replied, "I think probably not".

She said that the current presenter was selected to follow in the footsteps of Pat Kenny and Gay Byrne following lengthy debates on the issue by RTE management.

"I think there were a lot of discussions behind the scenes on that and what the audience expected and all that," she said.

Ironically both women have already played a part in the history of the country's most-watched chat show.

In the 1980s, while appearing on a panel discussing women's issues, Ms Finucane briefly took Gay Byrne's presenter's chair following prompting from journalist Nell McCafferty.

And two years ago, Miriam O'Callaghan was hotly tipped to succeed Pat Kenny as the host, but was pipped at the post by Ryan Tubridy.

Mr Tubridy has endured much criticism and speculation about his future, as viewing figures dropped.

Only the recent Toy Show ratings represented good news.

But he has vowed to continue at RTE despite stints with BBC Radio 2 in London.

Irish Independent

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