RTE cutbacks have stars running scared, admits sexiest Baz
RTE golden boy Baz Ashmawy, who recently scooped the sexiest man in Ireland award, has admitted that there is "a lot of fear" among stars of the national broadcaster.
And the presenter said he was thrilled when RTE put his new series back on the schedule.
Baz was the latest star to become a victim of the broadcaster's cutbacks after his show was put on the back burner.
But the Diary can exclusively reveal that the How Low Can You Go star's first solo outing since quitting the travel show has been given the green light.
"It was always going ahead but they were thinking of holding back on it until January 2010 but that has all changed now. The show is being put back on the schedule for this year. I don't have an exact date yet but it's definitely going to be aired so I'm thrilled," he said.
He admits there's a "lot of fear" out there as TV stars wonder if their show will be next to face the axe but said that he's still as busy as ever.
"I've had a few offers lately and I was away in London making an ad with Lucy Kennedy and she said things are going great for her too.
"Obviously there are cutbacks but RTE are still making new shows and looking for fresh talent," he added.
The madcap star is now jetting off next week to film the final series in Baz's Culture Clash, which he describes as a "totally low-brow version of Louis Theroux's programme."
The show sees him living with all kinds of weird and wonderful characters, including Christian biker groups, a coven of Irish witches and English hippies. He says he's far more in his comfort zone spending time with them than co-fronting something like Failte Towers.
"I think different presenters are stronger at different things. I just like hanging out with people. I would love to be more mainstream but I don't think I'm that good at presenting.
"I hate going on about Failte Towers as the whole process was a bit raw. Aidan Power's just a brilliant presenter and there's no competing with him. I loved it in the end, it was a brilliant experience," he continued.
He has been keeping a low-profile lately, ever since winning the title of Ireland's Sexiest Man a few weeks ago and is happy to spend time with long-term girlfriend Tanya Evans.
"I just got kind of sick of reading about myself and seeing pictures of me splashed around the place. People think I live this madly exciting life but I don't."
However, one perk of having a raised profile is becoming a Fiat Ireland brand ambassador, meaning he'll shortly be zooming around in a 2009 Alfa Romeo Spider, worth a cool €60,000.