New Rose of Tralee host Daithi O Se will join Herald columnist Claire Byrne on the couch of a new prime-time afternoon chat show, while her former TV3 colleague Maura Derrane will present her own show.
A source has revealed to the Herald that the three presenters will collectively front two new programmes that will replace The Afternoon Show in RTE's autumn/winter schedule 2010.
"The plan is that Maura will present a new programme on her own, looking at lighter issues. Daithi will co-present a new show along with Claire, which will cover more topical stories, and both these programmes will fill the gap in the schedule that used to be occupied by The Afternoon Show," said an insider.
A wealth of speculation has surrounded the broadcaster's plans for its forthcoming schedule, which the station will formally unveil tomorrow.
Kerry Gaelgeoir Daithi is best known for fronting TG4's weather reports, as well as recently being named as the new host of the Rose of Tralee. He is said to be over the moon with his new position.
"He was only formally approached with an offer very recently. He's actually tried to lay low while he considered it because he has been repeatedly warned not to tell anyone, but someone else let the cat out of the bag and the news has spread like wildfire," said a source.
"RTE bosses have finally come to realise that Daithi has what it takes to become one of their biggest stars. With the departure of Grainne Seoige and the tragic loss of Gerry Ryan, they needed some vibrant new blood.
"His profile has soared in the past year and he is already well known as a housewives' favourite, so he couldn't really be any more perfect for the job and RTE are keen to capitalise on that."
Claire Byrne was presenting her morning show as usual on Newstalk today. A regular contributor to the Herald (see page 15) she's expected to stay on at Newstalk for another month before joining RTE.
A former TV3 news anchor, Claire joined the radio station in 2006 after a highly publicised wrangle with her former employers. The TV station was initially granted an injunction restraining the presenter from performing broadcasting duties for Newstalk until the end of November 2006.
Now she will be making a welcome return to the small screen.
A source revealed: "All of the presenters are on total lockdown. Anyone even remotely linked to the new shows has been personally contacted and warned not to say a word before tomorrow's official launch.
"There was a lot of uncertainty over what was going to happen with The Afternoon Show and, after months of not knowing anything, the new presenters were informed of the changes."
An RTE spokeswoman said: "We're not in a position to confirm or deny any details about our daytime programming in advance of seasonal and programme announcements to come.
"We are confident we have a very strong schedule lined up and we're very excited about unveiling it all tomorrow," she added.
One of RTE's most high-profile slots, previous presenters in the afternoon have included Marty Whelan and Mary Kennedy with Open House.
Broadcast between 1998 and 2004, it was replaced by The Afternoon Show in a revamp. The new programme was originally presented by Blathnaid ni Chofaigh and Anna Nolan, with Sheana Keane joining at a later stage.