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Late Late will outlast Norton - Gaybo


Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins

Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins

Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins

GAY Byrne believes the Late Late Show was a phenomenon in its own right, and audiences will tire of the light-hearted chat shows fronted by Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross.

The broadcasting legend, who spent 37 years as host of the Late Late, said he is certain the more serious format of the long-running RTE flagship programme will remain popular for many years to come.

But he predicted that lighter chat shows, where quick-witted hosts such as Cork-born Norton and Jonathan Ross tend to hog the limelight, will lose favour with viewers.

"No show in the world compared to the Late Late Show and gained the affection of its audience, per head of population, like it did," he said.

"There is always room for a talk show of that kind."

When asked about the future of the hugely-popular shows fronted by Norton and Ross, he said: "That's a fashion that we're going through and eventually that fashion will run out of steam."


Gaybo, who turned 80 earlier this month, reminisced about his days producing and presenting the world's longest-running chat show in a lengthy radio interview over the weekend with Gerry Kelly on BBC Radio Ulster.

He also revealed that he first gave RTE chiefs three years' notice that he intended to step down at the age of 65 - but nobody believed him.

"Even when I gave them six months' notice, they still thought I was joking and they only sort of cottoned on with about three months to go," he said.

The veteran presenter also insisted he would have resolved the Garth Brooks concert fiasco.

He said he would have devoted a whole edition of the RTE show to the controversy and would have reached a successful compromise by persuading the country music star to play three gigs.

"I would have had an entire Late Late Show about it, with all the interested parties present in the studio," he said. "And I'd have sorted it out and he'd have done three shows."