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RTE splashes out €332k to book TV guests and pay for their food and drink

RTE splashed out more than €332,000 on guests, food and drink for five flagship programmes in 2013.

The Herald can today reveal that just two of the shows - The Late Late Show and The Saturday Night Show - cost a combined €215,296 for the interviewees alone.

On top of that, the food and drinks bill for the two shows as well as Saturday Night with Miriam and Gay Byrne's For One Night Only, amounted to a further €85,280 for the year.

The figures, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the Donnybrook-based station spent a total of €243,128 on well-known faces, including contributors, musicians and bands, to feature on the four prime-time shows.


In addition to this sum, the station - which is funded by a combination of TV licences and commercial revenue - shelled out €3,584 on guests for its New Year's Eve Show in December 2013.

RTE refused to disclose exact fees paid to individual guests that featured on the five shows saying this was "commercially sensitive" information.

The highest spend on guests in 2013 was incurred on Brendan O'Connor's The Saturday Night Show at €118,615.

RTE paid €96,681 booking stars to chat to Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show.

A string of celebrities took to the hot seat in the 2013 season, including Hollywood heavyweight Tom Cruise, Take That singer Gary Barlow, British comedian Steve Coogan and Irish movie star Colin Farrell.

Miriam O'Callaghan's summer slot Saturday Night with Miriam forked out €1,941 for guests for each of its eight episodes, adding up to €15,531.

RTE paid €12,301 for two episodes of Gay Byrne's live music series For One Night Only which last year featured Boyzone and Phil Coulter.

The figures listed under expenditure classified as "guests" exclude any guest who participated on a show to promote a project. RTE does not pay a fee to contributors who are publicising a film, album, book or production.

Last night, RTE could not specify what items of expenditure were included in the total cost in relation to booked guests.

With regards to food and drink, RTE made sure that no glass was empty or nobody went unfed, spending €85,280 on refreshments for the year. This included soft drinks, beer, wine, spirits, sandwiches and finger food.