RYAN TUBRIDY'S 'soft soap' interview with Ronan Keating was agreed in a shocking pre-show pact, it has emerged today.
A tide of criticism has engulfed RTE after Friday night's Late Late Show when Keating was given an easy time following his marriage infidelities.
The interview was kept until late in the show to attract the largest possible audience on the assumption that Mr Keating's affair with dancer Francine Cornell would be discussed.
Today the singer admitted that Tubridy agreed not to ruffle his friend's feathers and ask any personal questions about the state of his marriage.
For many viewers it was further proof that Ryan Tubridy is not up to the job of being a serious interrogator of guests in the style of Gay Byrne or Pat Kenny.
Boyzone singer Ronan has sensationally revealed that the content of the interview was set-up beforehand, with his "friend" Tubridy.
"Ryan and I are friends and he was good to me on Friday," Ronan said today.
"We spoke before the interview on how it was going to go. That's my private life, and regardless of how many questions someone's going to ask, I'm not going to answer.
"They'll say whatever they want to say, I'll keep my private life private as I always have.
"Thank you to Ryan, fair play. I hope he doesn't get too hard a time," he told Ian Dempsey on Today FM this morning.
Today an RTE spokesman said Tubridy did meet with Keating beforehand and discussed the interview, "which is nothing unusual".
Friday night's controversial Late Late Show was billed as one of the biggest of the year, with the pint-sized performer (34) finally expected to give a candid interview about his seven-month affair with Francine Cornell and subsequent split from wife Yvonne.
While Ronan unsurprisingly blamed the media for his fall from grace -- conspicuously leaving out any mention of his sordid affair with a backing dancer -- it is Ryan who is now feeling the wrath of RTE viewers.
The lanky broadcaster has come under fire for going easy on the shamed singer, by simply referencing his "difficult year" -- and that was it.
And fans have since gone so far as to demand his resignation after being left bitterly disappointed by the "boring" interview.
One fan branded him as "the highest paid coward in Ireland", while another described it as being "utterly appalling".
"You spineless clown having let Keating off the hook. Such a waste of a licence fee," another disgruntled viewer said. Another fan even contacted Ryan to say: "I suggest avoiding interviewing guests with dirt in the future."
But RTE stuck by their star this morning, and a spokesman told the Herald: "The interview covered a range of subjects with Ronan Keating on Friday night, it covered a number of events over the past year, and there is nothing more to add."See page 15