THE race to Washington is on, with some of RTE's top names vying for Charlie Bird's nest in the US capital.
The broadcaster has closed applications for the coveted post and is now sifting through the CVs of journalists who want to take flight from Montrose.
And among those thought to be in the running are big guns Sean O'Rourke and Richard Downes.
The News at One and Morning Ireland presenters are rumoured to be going head-to-head with some of the station's newsroom journalists, including Adrian Lydon and Tadgh Enright.
Senior journalist Aoife Kavanagh is also reported to have put her name forward to report on the Obama years. But as previously reported in the Herald, former economics editor George Lee has not applied for the post following his exit from politics.
The application deadline closed on March 26, with sources saying that the competition is heavy, despite the downbeat description of the job given by Charlie Bird in his documentary on life in Washington.
During the programme, Bird declared: "I don't know what madness possessed me to take on this job."
The veteran reporter returned to Dublin last week for a holiday that coincided with the birth of his grandson.
His shock decision to quit the US and return home more than two years early left RTE bosses red-faced and with a big gap to fill.
They are now expected to begin interviewing potential candidates in the next few weeks.