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From beaches to couch surfing as Kathryn tipped for afternoon show

RTE beauty Kathryn Thomas (31) is being lined up for a primetime slot on RTE's afternoon schedule next season.

The Herald can reveal how the blonde presenter is one of the frontrunners being considered for a new magazine-style programme to replace The Afternoon Show.

Since RTE has decided to axe No Frontiers, the Carlow native is free to consider other projects with the station as she enters a new stage in her career.

The station is also revamping the slot occupied by the Afternoon Show and has been accepting tenders for a replacement show from production companies.

RTE bosses are now eager to ensure its replacement show has a winning formula and reckon the globe-trotting star is the right woman for the job.

"RTE want to use Kathryn to the best of her ability as she's very popular with viewers," said an insider.

"She has proved that she is very adaptable and can front family-oriented shows like Winning Streak as well as covering for her RTE colleagues on the radio.

"Kathryn is one of RTE's golden girls -- whatever she turns her hand to is a success. Producers want to guarantee that their new afternoon programme goes down well with audiences and Kathryn is the person to help them achieve that."

It was recently confirmed that the station has decided not to recommission the travel programme for a 13th series.

A spokeswoman insisted that the move was not prompted by financial restraints and was instead prompted by a need to produce more homegrown programming.

She added how Kathryn will continue to feature strongly in its schedules throughout 2010 and 2011.

Also said to be in the running to join the blonde beauty on the couch of the new show are fellow presenters Grainne Seoige and Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh.

Blathnaid bowed out of the programme last September after five years at the helm. At the time, she cited bowel problems as the reason for her decision, which came following allegations of a bullying complaint from her former sidekick Sheana Keane.

After she failed to return to the programme, Maura Derrane was drafted in to replace her for the rest of the series.

And when asked about the future of the show, the former Ireland AM presenter admitted that she was just playing it by ear.

"The reality is that RTE have to put the show out to tender after six seasons," she said. "This is the reality. Because they're a public broadcaster, they have to do that so the show will go out to tender. We don't know what's going to happen.

"Of course we want it to come back but what are you going to do if it's not? It's a fickle business."