€200k fee may prove too much as TV3 scrambles to sign up star Louis
Last-minute negotiations are under way to get Louis Walsh on board for the first series of Ireland's Got Talent.
TV3 is hoping to seal the deal with the X Factor judge ahead of tomorrow's schedule launch at the National Concert Hall, the Herald can reveal.
However, it is understood a stumbling block could be the rumoured €200,000 fee Walsh is demanding.
Nevertheless, talks are ongoing between the two parties as TV3 tries to pull out all the stops to secure his services.
If the broadcaster does sign up the Co Mayo music mogul, €200,000 will be one of the largest amounts it has ever paid a star.
"TV3 is desperate to get a big name on board for the first series of the show," said an insider.
"It wants to make a big impact with the new programme.
"Louis has the space in his schedule to do it but, as everyone knows, he doesn't come cheap and it's unclear if the broadcaster has the budget to afford him.
"Having said that, it is very keen to make the new show a success and prove that it can pull in the big-name stars for it."
The former Westlife manager, who was unavailable for comment, is already picking up a €1.1m pay cheque to appear on the latest season of the X Factor.
Walsh is the longest-surviving original judge.
The show will end in December and Ireland's Got Talent will have a six-week run starting at the end of January, meaning it will easily fit into Walsh's busy schedule.
Also rumoured to be sitting on the judging panel are former Big Breakfast presenter Denise van Outen, comedian Jason Byrne and American singer and TV personality Michelle Visage.
TV3 stalwart Lucy Kennedy is being lined up to present the show.
The show is being made by Kite Productions, which was behind the 2002 Irish version of reality show Popstars, which also had Walsh as a judge.