New ‘Late Late Show’ host to stay living in London while presenting RTÉ show

New ‘Late Late Show’ host to stay living in London while presenting RTÉ show

‘Genuine concerns’ that living abroad could mean he’s ‘out of touch’ with an Irish audience

Kielty tweeted his delight after the official announcement of his new role yesterday, saying it was an “honour” to “follow in the footsteps of Gay, Pat and Ryan”.

But this weekend, RTÉ confirmed to this newspaper that Kielty will keep his family base in the UK, while flying in and out of Dublin to record the Friday-night chat show.

‘How tuned-in can he really be to the Irish conversation?’

Kielty, his wife Cat Deeley and their two young sons live in Fulham in the upmarket area of West London, where they moved in 2020.

Though there are positive soundings in RTÉ about the signing, one insider said there are genuine concerns as to how Kielty will manage to juggle an overseas family life — while simultaneously taking on the mammoth task of fronting a show famed for its gruelling schedule.

Patrick Kielty in Profile

“One genuine concern people have is that he will be living in London, and flying in and out of Dublin every week to record the show,” they said.

“And people have wondered how ‘tuned-in’ can he really be to the Irish conversation, if he is not going to be in Ireland all the time?”

Asked why his location is important, the source said: “Ryan was having conversations every day with the people who work in the dry cleaners, with the butcher, the people in his local supermarket. He was very connected to what was going on and how people were feeling.

“But how could an interviewer interview the Taoiseach — and grill him on taxes and rents, for example — if he’s not living here, not even a resident in the country?”

The source said a hybrid-work approach might prove difficult.

“The schedule is 37 weeks at the moment, and it’s two-and-a-half hours of live television — though there’s speculation that might be reduced.

“On Thursdays and Fridays, Patrick would absolutely have to be here to prepare and record the live show, and maybe he could do the Monday meeting with the team over Zoom.

“Researchers and producers could brief him — but it would be a lot easier if he was living here and experiencing Irish life here like everyone else.”

The source said there are also other issues to think about including cost and carbon footprint.

“When you’re commuting, there are a lot of extras.

For instance, add in a car to pick him up in London, then the flights, two or three nights in a hotel — and he’s not exactly going to be staying in Jury’s Inn — so it could easily add €30,000 minimum to the bill. And at a time when there’s talk of cutbacks in RTÉ.

“Then there’s also the carbon footprint to think about,” they said.

“All BBC shows now track their carbon footprint, using an online tool called the Albert Calculator — so the idea of a London to Dublin commute would kind of make a mockery of that. But we will have to wait and see.”

When contacted, a spokesperson for RTÉ said: “During the series Patrick will spend the majority of his time in Ireland, but will of course continue to be back and forward to London to be with his wife and young family”.

‘Half the country will be in the pub on Friday nights when the World Cup is on’

Meanwhile, a separate insider has told the Sunday Independent that the new host will face an uphill battle right from the start. RTÉ bosses are preparing for a clash between the show’s new season and the highly anticipated Rugby World Cup, which also kicks off in the autumn.

The source told the newspaper there has been talk among management about fears that the games could knock up to 100,000 viewers off the show’s ratings.

Though Ireland’s first two fixtures are on Saturday nights in September, there are several key World Cup games taking place on Friday nights — and rugby fans will want to watch them. Then, in October, both the semi-finals and the bronze final take place on Friday nights.

With Ireland currently number one in the rugby world rankings, their games have the potential to hit Late Late Show ratings.

As the source explained: “Half the country will be in the pub on Friday nights when the World Cup is on — and that’s Patrick’s first few weeks in the chair.

“The likelihood is that Ireland will be involved in the tournament right until the end of October, and RTÉ management are worried it will be a drain on viewers.”

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