RTE promises 'spectacular' first Late Late Show despite Kenny's delay in signing up
The Late Late series producer says the first show to be broadcast this season "promises to be spectacular".
Larry Masterson says the show will definitely be broadcast on September 5 -- despite the fact that host Pat Kenny has not yet signed a contract.
Pat Kenny has said he remains "absolutely confident" he will appear in the first Late Late Show of the new season.
"I was in a production meeting for the show yesterday. In fact, I am on the front cover of the RTE Guide next week with the Seoige sisters.
"It's all nonsense. I can't go into detail about how far we are down the line, but there is no disagreement.
"Nothing can happen while the director general is away. Cathal Goan (RTE chief) is in Donegal at the moment and, while I may be mooching around here, nothing can happen."
It is understood that negotiations have been stalled for some time as Mr Kenny who earns €849,000-a-year seeks a longer contract.
The presenter is hired by RTE as a freelancer and must regularly renegotiate his terms of employment.
But this time around, problems have arisen because Mr Kenny wants a three-year deal, whereas RTE are so-far only willing to offer a one-year commitment.
"The Late Late Show is in our new season schedule and will transmit from Wexford on September 5," a spokesperson for the station said.
Sources in RTE say that talks between Mr Kenny's representatives and the station have been "frank and tough".
The sticking problem appears to be the length of the contract, rather than disagreements over a rise in his already substantial salary.
Celebrity accountant Ossie Kilkenny represents Mr Kenny and is understood to be arguing that the veteran broadcaster is entitled to at least a three-year package.
However, RTE cutbacks mean they are cagey about offering long-term deals.
The source said: "He wants a three-year contract as a safety net because he doesn't trust them (RTE senior management) so much any more."
Mr Kenny was paid €849,000 in 2006, the last year for which figures are available.