Claire Byrne beats Pat Kenny but ‘Corrie’ still wins Mondays

‘Pat Kenny in the Round’ lifts 9pm slot for UTV Ireland but soap fans switch off

Mondays were already the most important night of the week – by some distance – for UTV Ireland, and the debut of Pat Kenny's new interview show, Pat Kenny in the Round, prompted a 33 per cent increase in its 9pm slot average.

But the Kenny vehicle, which features in-depth and at times emotional interviews with personalities such as astronaut Chris Hadfield and singer Lulu, failed to keep more than 300,000 of the viewers who were tuned into UTV Ireland for Coronation Street at 8.30pm.

Kenny's interview with Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte was watched by 150,000 people, which represented a clear uplift on the previous Monday's 9pm programme, The Mafia with Trevor McDonald, which had an average of 58,000.

But Kenny didn't appear to inherit too many viewers from the 8.30pm Coronation Street, which on Monday night drew an average of 468,000 and was the most-watched television show on the night. The 7.30pm visit to Weatherfield, meanwhile, was viewed by 426,000 people and Emmerdale attracted 299,000.


Sandwiched in the middle of the two Corries, another of the few Irish-made programmes on UTV Ireland, farming show Rare Breed, was watched by 128,000 people at 8pm.

The ex-RTÉ veteran also ran into stiff competition in the shape of former colleague Claire Byrne, whose current-affairs show was pulled forward to the post-news slot of 9.35pm for a marriage referendum debate.

This helped Claire Byrne Live to an average of 368,000 viewers, which was the show's highest audience in its run to date.

Next week, Kenny's competition on RTÉ will be a documentary celebrating 60 years of the Eurovision song contest, while the week after he will go up against Crimecall, which reliably garners strong ratings. TV3's Dáil on the Dole, meanwhile, was squeezed out in this ratings battle, with an average of just 48,000 viewers.

UTV Ireland has been in negotiations with potential sponsors for the Kenny programme, but at the time of writing had not yet signed one.

The show, made by production company Coco Television, will continue for another four weeks before returning in the autumn for an eight-week run.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics