Thursday 21 March 2019

I'm not the new Bowman, insists Miriam

STAYING PUT: Miriam says she's not leaving Primetime
STAYING PUT: Miriam says she's not leaving Primetime

RTE star Miriam O'Callaghan has insisted she has no plans to step in to John Bowman's shoes.

The Primetime host told the Herald that she would stay with her current affairs flagship programme.

"I love Primetime. I'm really happy there and that's why I am not going anywhere," she told the Herald.

"It's a very hard act to follow after John -- but I'm definitely staying with Primetime," said Miriam.

The mum-of-eight's comments came after RTE confirmed that a similar programme would replace Questions & Answers.

"The political/current affairs programme which will replace Questions & Answers will be in the same Monday evening time slot and will include public participation," an RTE spokes-person said.


RTE's decision to axe the long-running current affairs programme came as a surprise to Miriam.

"The first thing I heard about it was on Tuesday evening, on the RTE website.

"It took me completely by surprise.

"I was up in Belfast for Primetime so I hadn't a clue about what was happening until I was checking the website," she told the Herald.

Already the speculation is beginning as to who RTE will pick to present the programme.

The station said the decision to end Q&A was a joint one between TV chiefs and the show's presenter John Bowman, who said he had decided it was time to step down.

In a statement, director general Cathal Goan said the programme had been an "integral part of the national conversation for over 20 years".

And a spokesperson for the State broadcaster added: "This is not a cutback, it is not because of the economic climate.

"Because John has been at the helm for 21 years it was decided that if he goes, then the Q&A format will go too."

However, some political watchers welcomed the end of the programme, deeming it "well past its sell-by date".

One Minister told the Herald: "Government and opposition parties were finding it more and more difficult to get people to go on a show that was late at night and at the start of the week to debate topics which had been trashed to death on every other show over the weekend."


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