'Nothing sexist about title for new show', say Pat and Colette
Pat Kenny has defended his new TV3 show from sexism claims, saying the decision to omit his co-anchor's name was a marketing decision.
The new current affairs programme, which starts tonight, found itself in the headlines when it was announced it would be called Pat Kenny Tonight, despite being co-presented by Herald columnist Colette Fitzpatrick.
"What do you do, what do you call it? The Pat and Colette Show? The PC show, the politically correct show? I think it was a decision to use my name as a marketing lead, but Colette will be an integral part of the show.
"I will see situations arising, probably fairly soon, where I will not be involved in it at all and she'll be very much involved in the show. It will be shared equally.
"If I fall down with the flu, Colette will host the entire show and if she falls down with the flu, I'll host it. There is an equality and an evolution of roles that will happen over the run of the show."
He said he's like the "senior partner in the Coalition" and using his name in the title was to flag with audiences that he's back on the telly again. "She's the young one and I'm the more mature person. I think it was just: 'Pat's back on telly'. Colette's on telly all the time so it's just to let people know," he said.
"People also probably have a certain affinity already with what I have done, so they're expecting a bit of that."
Filmed in front of a live audience of 150 people in Virgin Media's €5m HD studio at TV3, he said the new show will share aspects of his former RTE show The Frontline.
The presenter said he reckons TV3 will definitely give the national broadcaster a run for its money in the current affairs stakes.
"They seem to be very serious about maybe going a little more head-to-head with RTE One, that seems to be the philosophy," he said.
"It reminds me a bit of going to Newstalk.
"It's a much leaner management structure, you talk to the people who can make the decisions very much more easily than in RTE.
"RTE is an old organisation. It's structured in a particular way so I've no doubt that Dee (Forbes) is going to refine all that."
He said they'll be delving into the issues of the day, including the Eighth Amendment debate and a Budget 2017 special.
Meanwhile Colette Fitzpatrick insisted she had no problem with her name being omitted from the show's title and she was "surprised" at the furore.
"It has nothing to do with gender, genuinely. I always knew the show was going to be called Pat Kenny Tonight because, without sounding ageist, Pat has more experience than me," she said.
"He's 68 years of age. He has nearly three decades on me so obviously he is the lead role on this. It doesn't mean I'm going to be doing very little, I have a substantial role. It's not a sexism row, full stop."