New show to replace Tubridy Tonight will cost hard-hit RTE €1,200 a minute
Cash-strapped RTE is to commission a new Saturday night entertainment show to replace Tubridy Tonight -- at a cost of €1,200 per minute on air.
The broadcaster is seeking ideas for a new show that could provide a consolation prize for Late Late Show rejects Gerry Ryan or Miriam O'Callaghan.
A budget of up to €1.44m has been set aside for the programme, which will be aiming for audiences close to those achieved by its Friday night sister, the Herald can reveal.
And while the exact format has yet to be chosen, it will most likely be fronted by "an established name or a combination of established names".
It had been thought that the RTE would save money by holding off on a home- produced show for Saturday nights, but instead it will be splashing out around €90,000 per episode.
The show will be "high energy" and "provide a distinctively Irish take on contemporary entertainment".
Proposals for the show's format could include "chat, music, comedy, satire or some other element, such as audience participation, games, etc".
Documents seen by the Herald also note the need "to deliver significant audiences without replicating The Late Late Show".
During his Saturday night stint Ryan Tubridy was pulling in audiences of over half a million and RTE hopes that this can be achieved again.
However, the glitz of live TV might be lost as the station is open to the idea of using a pre-recorded show to fill the 9.30pm slot.
"Production models, and options can include both proposals that use RTE studios and others that use outside broadcasts from alternative locations," said a commissioning paper.
The previous Saturday night effort was built around Tubridy's personality and there is a strong possibility that the new show will do likewise with its presenter.
A "Call for Ideas" paper almost describes "Saturday Night with Miriam", noting that "the proposed presenting talent is crucial".
The most startling part of the plan is a budget of €90,000 per instalment which will be between 52 and 75 minutes long.
RTE plans to make a shortlist of potential shows before the end of 2009 and have the chosen one on air by the end of January.