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RTE try to lure Blathnaid back with new show ... but will the Queen of Afternoon TV take it?

Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh has met high-level RTE chiefs to discuss her future at the station.

The Herald has learned that the mum of four had talks with top-ranking Montrose executives days after it was revealed by this newspaper that the flame-haired presenter looks set for a daytime TV comeback.

Managers are said to be keen to have Blathnaid (38) reclaim her spot as the queen of afternoon television, with a potential new home-produced daytime series on the horizon next autumn.

However insiders say the tough-talking gaelgoir is reluctant to commit to anything yet, given that she is still suffering from ill-health and has been enjoying spending more time with her children.

"Initially Blathnaid was devastated about leaving the Afternoon Show and all the team behind after working with them for five years," said a close pal.

"But as the months have gone on she's been really enjoying having more quality time to spend with her kids and her husband.

"She has said that she would have to think very carefully about taking on the heavy workload attached to presenting a full-time show again as she doesn't want to jeopardise her health any further.

"There is also talk of the All Ireland Talent Show returning on an even bigger scale next year so she would have to choose between continuing on that or going back to presenting her own show.

"She's a full-time member of staff at RTE and has worked there for over 20 years so she knows her job is safe either way."

The Meath native made the decision to scale back her hours last September, when she shocked the nation by quitting the Afternoon Show after five years, leaving her former co-star, Sheana Keane at the helm.

The Dublin presenter was initially joined by Sile Seoige, before Maura Derrane was later enlisted as her permanent co-star.

Blathnaid meanwhile has returned to the small screen with a vengeance, travelling the country as a judge for the East on the All Ireland Talent Show.

Speculation is rife throughout the corridors of Montrose that if Blathnaid makes the jump back to daytime television, she could be joined be her former Friday co-host, Trevor Keegan.

The pair have remained close since both left the airwaves last September.

A spokesperson for the troubled series this week confirmed that the independent contract for the show had been put out for tender, insisting that it must be put out after a minimum of four years.

The series, however, is now in its sixth year.

"This is simply good business practice," the representative said.

lnolan@herald.ie


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