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09th Oct 2023

RTÉ reportedly paid for flights for major Late Late Show guest before line-up change

Simon Kelly

Late Late Show flights

One Donie, Two Johnnies.

RTÉ reportedly paid around €2,000 for the flights of a Late Late Show guest before cancelling and changing their line-up days before the show.

The Irish Examiner reports that CNN journalist Donie O’Sullivan was due to sit down in the studio with Patrick Kielty, however a last-minute decision was made by RTÉ’s group head of entertainment Alan Tyler to switch to guests The 2 Johnnies.

According to reports from the Irish Independent, members of O’Sullivan’s family were also booked into hotels to attend the show before his appearance was cancelled.

Late Late Show

CNN journalist Donie O’Sullivan was reportedly due to sit down in the studio with Patrick Kielty.

The switch reportedly happened on the same day that RTÉ director general Kevin Bakhurst announced a freeze on new hires and other cost-cutting measures like stopping discretionary spending.

O’Sullivan, a Kerry native, rose to prominence during the last US presidential elections and covered the 2021 attack on the Capitol building in Washington DC.

The news comes as issues behind the scenes of the Late Late Show are coming to light over the last few days.

Executive producer Jane Murphy, who had been working on the revamped series over the past five months, departed the show amid reports of “tensions” behind the scenes over the selection of guests.

Patrick Kielty

Late Late Show figures falling amid reports of behind-the-scenes trouble

Since the impressive start under new host Patrick Kielty in September, viewing figures for the new era of the Late Late Show have dropped week on week, a worrying trend for those at the national broadcaster.

Kielty’s debut show drew an average audience of 830,000 and a peak viewership of 940,000 while week two saw viewership drop by more than 33% to 548,000.

The third show in the series saw audience figures drop further to 486,000 people tuning in on the night.

On Friday, October 6, Kielty hosted his first Late Late country music special, which went down well with viewers. The success will have RTÉ hoping for a boost in viewership over the next few shows.

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