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It's prime time Pat

BROADCASTER Pat Kenny will make his return to television in 2015 - and will be back on screens for at least two years.

The former RTE presenter has been confirmed as the new face of UTV Ireland and will helm a one-hour weekly current affairs show in a prime time slot.

In what is "another leap of faith" following his defection from RTE to Newstalk Radio last year, father-of-two Pat has come on board with the incoming TV station until 2017.

It is speculated that the 66-year-old has signed a six figure deal, but when asked he declined to comment due to "commercial confidentiality".

Following the announcement of his comeback in front of the cameras, Pat told the Herald that he will not be anchoring a revived version of his axed show Frontline and ruled out doing an entertainment show.

He also said that he does not wish to go head-to-head with his ex-colleagues Miriam O'Callaghan and Claire Byrne and Prime Time, but that he would like his offering to be live and studio based.

"I don't believe in going back and I don't want to revisit Frontline so soon.

"It won't be a 40-week commitment a year like the Late Late Show, that's exhausting, I've done that already.

"It will not be Prime Time either because that's reflective of the day's news and I'm not going to do a documentary series or anything.

"I'm hoping to be on pre-watershed, so before 10pm.

"It will be high energy and will be live as much as possible or quasi live, as in recorded as live when necessary," he said.

Pat insisted he has yet to sit down with UTV bosses to agree on a format, but that he will have final sign off on the production.

"It's not only me but I'll have a big input and ultimately I will sign off on it.

"I have to have that, it was important to me.

"But we have plenty of time to work all of that out and in terms of a set too; there's no immediate urgency."

The Dalkey-based broadcaster was approached about the job earlier this summer.

"I always said I wanted a year to bed-in with Newstalk and I was getting a lot of calls from the independent sector recently.

"It all came to a head [with UTV] very fast."

Pat said that the involvement of Mary Curtis, Head of Channel UTV Ireland, was a positive for him when considering his latest career move.

"When I heard of Mary being taken on by UTV I was thrilled for her because I know her. There is trust there and that was important because when you've worked on the same system, in the same place, you speak the same language," he said.

John McCann, Group Chief Executive, UTV Media plc said that Pat's commitment to UTV Ireland is extremely exciting.

"Pat is one of the most respected presenters in Ireland - his style of interviewing is unique, insightful and often challenging.

"These are all qualities that fit with the style of broadcasting that UTV Ireland aims to bring to the market and we are delighted that Pat will be part of the channel from the beginning."

In addition to officially welcoming Pat as its anchor, UTV unveiled further details about its programming line-up in Dublin yesterday.

RTE will compete for viewers, as UTV Ireland will air big hitters in the ratings stakes when it launches next year.

Their schedule will include long-running soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale, I'm A Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, The Cube, The Graham Norton Show and The Jonathan Ross Show.

lbutler@herald.ie


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