herald

Sunday 21 October 2018

Date is now set for Afternoon Show 'bullying' probe

TV presenter Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh has been given a date for the bullying hearing against her by her on-screen partner.

The Herald can also reveal that the jobs of both Blathnaid and Sheana Keane are far from secure despite the Afternoon Show being recommissioned by RTE for next year.

A date has been set for the top level probe to investigate the bullying claims against Ms Ni Chiofaigh.

The internal tribunal inquiry will take place next month and will probe all aspects of the alleged row between the co-hosts.

Ms Keane is currently on sick leave with what RTE continues to claim is "vertigo".



The tribunal will interview both parties separately, as well as all members of the show's staff on an individual basis.

News of the investigation comes amid a massive shake-up of the daytime schedules which this week saw the axing of the Seoige show.

RTE has confirmed that The Afternoon Show is set to return next autumn, but it has not yet been confirmed who will present it.

The popular lifestyle programme became embroiled in controversy after host Sheana (33) disappeared off air in early March, blaming "personal reasons" for her decision.

Trevor Keegan has since stepped in to fill her shoes alongside Blathnaid.

Ms Ni Chiofaigh was absent from yesterday's programme, but her absence was due to her daughter's confirmation.

A spokesperson today confirmed that The Afternoon Show will indeed return to the small screen next autumn.

They explained that the format of the programme will be reviewed and refused to say whether Blathnaid and Sheana would be the hosts.

"I don't know what the presenter line-up is going to be like at the end of the series," the spokesperson today told the Herald.

"It will definitely be back, but in terms of that presenter question we cannot pre-empt what the show is going to look like," they said.

Speculation is now mounting within the corridors of Montrose, that TV bosses are planning to do what they did with Off The Rails by keeping the show but replacing the presenters.

According to one well placed source: "I wouldn't be surprised in the least if they bring in Lorraine Keane to host it now that she's gone from TV3.



PLANS

"They also have big plans for Gráinne Seoige and she's looking like a strong contender for a Friday night slot."

All decisions regarding the soon to be reformatted Afternoon Show will be taken once it goes off air at the end of May.

The station refused to address the issue of bullying allegations on the show.

"We have a duty of care and a very strict policy in RTE that we don't talk about employees in terms of HR issues," Rory Coveney from the station's Corporate Affairs division explained.

An Afternoon Show representative said that they couldn't discuss the issue but explained how they were very happy with the current run and ratings have been as high as ever.

"All I can say is that we're very happy with the talent mix on The Afternoon Show."

The presenters remained unavailable for comment at the time of going to print, with RTE unable to provide any indication as to when or if Sheana will return to the show.



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