Broadcaster Pat Kenny looks set to return to his current affairs roots after his UTV chat show was axed.
After his comeback talk show Pat Kenny In The Round failed to attract viewers to the station, the former Late Late Show host will not return with a second season of the show as expected.
However, a source revealed to the Herald, that the Newstalk presenter remains contracted to the station and will instead be working on a more hard-hitting news show.
“It’s really just a change in direction. With the general election coming up, the station want to use Pat’s experience in current affairs to its advantage,” a source said.
While there is no official format for Pat’s new show, the station has ‘parked’ its plans to continue with In The Round as they want to make the most of the remainder of the broadcaster’s contract with the station.
“There’s no concrete format for a new show for Pat, but he is contracted to work a certain number of hours with UTV and the station believe they are best used focussing on the general election rather than on In The Round. It’s parked for the moment,” a source said.
They added that they would “never say never” to In The Round returning to the station.
The Herald also learned several key members of the production company behind the dropped series only found out about the station’s decision to axe the show over the weekend, and that issues with the location of filming – Dublin’s Mansion House – were also a factor in UTV’s choice.
Dubbed as Kenny’s much hyped return to TV presenting after his departure from RTE, In The Round’s debut episode, featuring an interview with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, drew in close to 150,000 viewers to the station.
However, that figure dropped significantly by the second show, with astronaut Chris Hadfield, attracted just 65,600 viewers.
Speaking to the launch of the In The Round, Pat said he was happy to be back on camera for a light entertainment show rather than a current affairs format.
He also said it would feel “odd”to be pitched against his former colleague Claire Byrne with a similar show.
“If I was to come back with something like The Frontline and was up against Claire [Byrne], who is a buddy of mine, it would’ve been odd,” he said.
“But they’re two different kinds of programmes. People can watch either or both.”