herald

Saturday 17 November 2018

Miriam convinces politics’ hottest property George to make RTE comeback

TV presenter Miriam O'Callaghan has bagged the hottest property in politics for the comeback night of her summer chat show.

Newly elected TD George Lee is set to make a light-hearted return to RTE for the first time since he left the company in a blaze of publicity in May.

The full line-up for the first show in the new series of Saturday Night with Miriam won't be confirmed until closer to airing, but sources have told the Herald that Lee is top of the list.

Tough

The former RTE economics editor will join Miriam on the couch for an informal chat.

It is understood that Miriam put George high on her list of priority guests for the new run of her show, and he has obliged.

A source revealed: “She made the request for him to go on the show and he agreed. “George has gotten used to doing tough interviews during the election campaign, so this will be a bit of a change.”

Miriam previously told the Herald how she dearly misses the financial guru around the corridors of RTE.

After Lee’s shock decision to run for Fine Gael in the Dublin South by-election, the Prime Time presenter said: “I adore George.

“We both started in RTE at the same time, in September 1992, and we worked together on a programme called Market Place.”

And she revealed that she would sometimes phone Lee to seek advice before big interviews.

“I'm incredibly sad that he is gone,” she added. “He's one guy that I could always ring up if I had to interview a finance minister and he was always incredibly generous with his economic knowledge.”

Lee romped to victory in the by-election and entered the Dail with a quota on the first count.

But shortly after his victory, he revealed that he hadn't been back to RTE to empty his desk since declaring his political allegiances.

O'Callaghan's show will run for six weeks from this Saturday and RTE have promised “top Irish and international guests”.

Announcing the show's return, RTE said the host will be interviewing guests with “her usual warmth, curiosity and incisiveness, bringing out the very best they can offer”.

Speaking after his election to the Dail, Lee revealed that he never had a chance to say a proper goodbye to his RTE colleagues.

Friends

“I literally was out of Ed Mulhall's [head of news] office into Sean O'Rourke's difficult studio that day, and out down to the Merrion Hotel and talking to Joe Duffy on the phone on the way,” he said.

The Cabinteely man laughed: “I just hope that somebody maybe cleared off my desk, I've no idea.”

He added: “I'm looking forward to some day over the next few weeks having some time to go back and say goodbye properly to people who I know were my friends”.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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