herald

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Afternoon Show won’t be dumped like the Seoige sisters, says RTE

RTE has revealed that the decision to axe the Seoige Show was financially motivated but has insisted that the troubled Afternoon Show won’t follow suit.

The decision to drop the show at the end of the first season “has absolutely nothing to do with Lorraine Keane” walking out on TV3, senior RTE insiders told the Herald.

Despite intense speculation that the Afternoon Show would be next, RTE has insisted that it will “definitely be back”.

Despite the alleged differeences between co-hosts Sheana Keane and Blathnaid Ni Chofiagh, the station insisted it will return to the autumn schedule.

The sudden decision to axe the show fronted by sisters Grainne and Sile Seoige had no similarities to the TV3 style bust-up which has seen Lorriane Keane walk out on the toubled Ballymount outfit.

RTE insists that the move was purely financially motivated as it needs to make up a €58m fall in Revenue.

“It was all to do with money, pure and simple,” said an insider.

Grainne and Sile have just two days left working together on the axed show, which draws to a close this Friday.

The Herald can reveal that Grainne is being hotly tipped to slip into Miriam O’Callaghan’s shoes, should the mum of eight take over the Late Late.

“Miriam is seen as a shoe-in for Pat’s job which means there could be an open slot on her show. Before moving on to the Seoige couch, Grainne was always seen as a serious journalist with a good background in news, so she could easily handle the heavyweight issues that come up in a current affairs show like Prime Time,” he said.

Grainne herself has hinted that she’s looking forward to a peak-time programme.

“The reality of a live daytime show through five days per week is that it can make the logistics of projects outside of daytime very tricky,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to concentrating on projects in peak time next season.”

Grainne has fronted the show from its very start after jumping ship from Sky News Ireland after being offered a ‘golden handshake’ deal with RTE.

Seoige has had a chequered history though, initially meeting with a cool response from Irish audiences before gaining in the ratings battle last year.

But according to RTE’s director of programming Steve Carson – who’s coincidentally married to Miriam – the decision to close the show was purely financially motivated.

He said it was “necessitated by a significant shortfall in revenue in the last quarter of 2008 and so far in 2009”, with an estimated €58m shortfall in their annual revenue.

“The series has been very successful for RTÉ, its audience has grown each year, and it has carved out a loyal following,” he said.

“Traditionally, RTÉ has only broadcast one home-produced daytime show. A second was introduced six years ago, facilitated by a buoyant economy and increasing revenue.”

He also praised the two presenters Grainne and Sile for their “professionalism, commitment and polish”.

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