herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Pat, it seems, is proving to be a hard act to follow for UTV and their new signings

Two months ago, UTV launched their new Irish channel with a fanfare, summoning the media to the Marker hotel in Dublin for a press conference, at which they announced Pat Kenny as their star signing.

At the time, I remarked that the manner of Pat's introduction - a long build-up, a drum roll, and the arrival of Pat via a lengthy walk through the audience - was reminiscent of the arrival of a prize-fighter into the ring, or another major signing by a global football team.

It was like Cristiano Ronaldo joining Real Madrid. Pat was effusive in his praise for his new employers, describing how he bought into their vision as a great, third force in Irish television.

Two months on, however, and just over two months before the station launches, would it be slightly remiss to point out that UTV have not, thus far, lived up to that hype?

Consider, for example, their major announcements since August. Last week, they poached RTE News reporter Paul Coughlan to become their new Economics Editor.

COMPETENT

Paul had worked with the national broadcaster for 10 years and, competent at this job though he undoubtedly is I, and most of the viewing public, had never heard of him.

This week, UTV announced the co-anchor on their nightly news programmes as Chris Donoghue, sidekick to Ivan Yates on Newstalk's breakfast programme.

Again, Chris is perfectly capable, but is very much in the shadow of his more formidable co-presenter.

Pat Kenny no doubt expected great things when he became the headline act on UTV, and while not wishing for anyone to challenge his star billing, he would have hoped for big names to draw in viewers. Instead, he's been given Grey and Greyer.

Two months on it, doesn't seem like Ronaldo has been signed by Real Madrid. It seems, instead, that he's been signed by Galway Utd.

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