Round one to Ryan Tubridy as Late Late beats Ray D'Arcy
It's round one to Ryan Tubridy in the RTE chat show wars. Ray D'Arcy's hugely-anticipated Saturday night chat show debuted over the weekend, going up against the The Late Late Show juggernaut.
D'Arcy's lively entertainment show pulled in impressive ratings of 468,500.
But it wasn't enough to trump The Late Late Show, which secured average ratings of 514,600 and a 50pc audience share.
D'Arcy's new series has replaced Brendan O'Connor's The Saturday Night Show, which achieved average ratings of 463,700 during its first season.
The ratings for O'Connor's show had steadily grown over the course of his five-year tenure - often beating The Late Late Show.
An RTE spokeswoman said the station was pleased with D'Arcy's ratings and it was a "promising start" to the series. "We're delighted with the figures for The Ray D'Arcy Show," she said.
"The reaction from the studio audience, and from viewers at home, has been really positive."
It should be noted that D'Arcy's first show coincided with the transmission of the Wales vs England World Cup match.
This may explain why The Late Late Show pulled in 46,000 extra viewers.
A variety of celebrity guests, including singer Tulisa, rugby star Donncha O'Callaghan, and internet sensation Sean O'Brien featured on D'Arcy's first show.
But it was comedian Tommy Tiernan's boisterous interview that garnered the most attention.
"Tommy proved a particular hit on the night," the RTE spokeswoman said.
"Over half-a-million viewers tuned in to watch the comedian chat to Ray."
However, viewers were critical of former X Factor judge Tulisa, who refused to answer several questions posed by D'Arcy.
Meanwhile on The Late Late Show, Tubridy quizzed Leo Varadkar and Damo and Ivor writer Jules Coll.
Tubridy has been quite open about the "friendly rivalry" that inevitably exists between himself and D'Arcy. Earlier this year, he said that he was looking forward to "kicking ass … like a gentleman".
"We'll be competing, we'll want to kick each other's asses, but you can do so like a gentleman," he said.
RTE's new series, Clean Break, also debuted over the weekend. Penned by Billy Roche, the drama centres around a kidnapping that goes awry.
The series succeeds Love/ Hate and has a similar tone. It stars Dundalk native Adam Fergus, who plays the part of car dealer Frank Mallon.
"It's a meaty and very interesting role to play," Fergus said. "As an actor you're always looking for a great script to challenge you, and the cast just had great chemistry here."
Clean Break pulled in average figures of 375,300.
See Anna Nolan, page 15