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the LATE LATE needs TO STOP TRYING SO HARD

"An old fashioned chat show in a modern world."

Well, that's one way to describe The Late Late Show, Ryan.

Tubridy was, of course, speaking ahead of RTE's new season, which will get underway as soon as the summer disappears. But did you hear what his mightiest predecessor had to say about the Late Late?

Speaking over the weekend Gay Byrne cast an eye over his time in the show's hot seat - a position he held for 37 years before handing over the reins to Pat Kenny in '99.

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

The veteran broadcaster also went on to describe the success of Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross' shows as a "fashion" that will, eventually, "run out of steam."

Woah, back up the truck there, uncle Gay - I think you might have your wires crossed.

Here's the thing - the Late Late that Byrne (80) left behind was an institution. A weekly television 'event', in fact - something to set the agenda and get folks talking.

The one we've suffered through for the last 15 years under the wings of Kenny (poor) and Tubridy (marginally better) has been nothing short of a mess, its very existence justified by the fact that, for one night a year, it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside (the Toy Show is still a hit with kids of all ages).

But that's not good enough.

star-studded

Here we have a show that continues to boast a Friday-night audience share of more than 40 per cent, and yet, it still doesn't know what it wants to be.

We probably shouldn't even compare it to Norton's weekly, star-studded ratings smash, but seeing as Gay started the ball rolling, why the heck not?

What makes Norton's BBC show is that his programme knows exactly what it is and how to play the light entertainment game (book the best guests, keep things conversational and funny, have everyone on at the same time, don't hit viewers over the head with new products, etc.).

The Late Late Show, on the other hand, tries way too hard to please everyone, not least its guests. And blending current affairs with pop culture on a Friday night just doesn't work any more.

That's not Tubridy's fault. He's a fine broadcaster, and a hard worker, but the Late Late needs a complete overhaul. Tubs has said so himself.

Remember Tubridy Tonight? It was actually quite good. A hell of a lot better than what Brendan O'Connor is up to on Saturday nights in Montrose.

Apparently, there's a new-look Late Late Show on the way in 2015. Long overdue, methinks.


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