Will McDowell and Browne go head to head in TV showdown?
FORMER Tanaiste Michael McDowell is being tipped to front a new current affairs programme for RTE.
The current affairs show is set to replace News Two and will see McDowell go head-to-head with TV3's Vincent Browne.
Other names being thrown in the ring for the programme, which will commence in the New Year, are Charlie Bird and Eamon Dunphy.
But according to inside sources, McDowell (59) is a serious contender to land the show, following his recent success on an episode of the series Ireland's Greatest, which focused on Michael Collins.
The instalment, which aired on September 20, saw McDowell travel in Michael Collins' footsteps in a bid to convince the Irish public that he is worthy of the title Ireland's Greatest.
Speaking to the Herald, a source said: "Everyone thought he was absolutely superb on the programme and it cast him in a totally new light.
"He was able to show off his real personality and his natural presenting flare without worrying about protecting his political entity."
Senior executives are said to be concerned that they may not be able to afford McDowell's services.
"He hasn't been directly approached with an offer yet but there is definite talk that he would be perfect for a more permanent TV series.
"There is no guarantee he will do it but it would be a major coup to get him on board. RTE are aware that Vincent Browne has struck a chord with audiences and are eager to offer something different to rival that.
"There are a few other names being tossed about but a lot of people believe that McDowell is the man to fill that slot. He is also being considered to do a weekend programme.
"It is believed that the station's rumoured new series could take over News Two's place in the schedule, as bosses consider axing it," a source said.