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Not everything Pat touches turns to gold as Late Late showed

Half an hour into UTV Ireland's big launch this week and many of the assembled guests must have been wondering why they had bothered turning up.

A succession of speakers attempted to invigorate the Marker Hotel ballroom with their enthusiasm. A studio was being built; staff were being recruited; ideas for home-grown shows were being invited.

Everything was underway but nothing, bar the announcement of little-known Alison Comyn as presenter of a nightly news and current events programme, was ready to be revealed.

excitement

Worse still, the shows that they did have to plug were all familiar ITV fodder from across the water - I'm A Celebrity, Jeremy Kyle, The Graham Norton Show...We had, quite literally, seen it all before.

But just as the presentation seemed to be winding up, the boss of UTV Ireland took to the stage again, and could barely contain his excitement. He revealed that he had bagged the right to make the announcement, so happy was he, to introduce the station's newest presenter - Pat Kenny.

To milk the moment to its fullest, Pat arrived via a choreographed walk through the ballroom's main doors, all the way down through the audience to the stage, giving his introduction the feel of a prize-fighter entering the ring.

Nor was Pat slow to remind the assembled crowd about what a coup this was for UTV Ireland. He reminisced about his long career in RTE, pointed out the leap of faith he had taken in joining Newstalk, and the not-inconsiderable success he had made of his radio show.

To say that Pat Kenny is one of the stars of UTV Ireland is a huge understatement. As it stands, Pat Kenny is the channel, and unless they pull off a coup which at least approaches Pat in terms of star quality, he looks like carrying the station's success on his shoulders.

For the second time in a year, Pat Kenny has been presented as the flagship star of a media organisation. But Pat as a TV presenter will only work if his show works. Not everything he touches turns to gold - his stint on the Late Late Show a case in point.

vague

And the vague answers being given about what Pat's show will be suggest a lack of planning which is bizarre for such a well-run company as UTV.

It won't be a chat show; it won't be an entertainment show; it won't be a re-hash of Frontline or a challenge to Prime Time. What will it be? Well, nobody, not even Pat, seems to know.

In their rush to publicise Pat, UTV Ireland seem to have put the star before the show. It's a potential mistake that RTE and TV3 would never have made.


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