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New job for Claire as Monday Prime Time axed

CLAIRE Byrne is to front a new current affairs show on Monday night as RTE continues its effort to fill the slot left by Questions and Answers.

RTE has decided to cancel the Monday edition of Prime Time and replace it with an audience participation political programme similar in style to the John Bowman-presented show that ran from 1988 to 2009.

Ms Byrne gave birth to her second child last month and is currently on maternity leave from the national broadcaster.

The Monday-night edition of 'Prime Time' has proved problematic for RTE producers since its inception.

Originally intended to replace 'The Frontline' hosted by Pat Kenny, the show failed to secure ratings.

In fact, viewership figures had dipped from 34pc during the period 2009-2010 to 21pc between 2013-2014.

"It simply didn't work," an RTE source said, adding "it hasn't worked for some time."

RTE have been developing the new programme, which has yet to be named, for the past six months.

It is believed producers considered several presenters before settling on Byrne who joined the 'Prime Time' team in January 2013.

The new programme is due to air early next year.

Miriam O'Callaghan and David McCullagh will continue to front the Tuesday and Thursday night programmes.