Pat Kenny back ‘on the road’ for UTV Ireland launch documentary

Broadcaster says television viewers more open to channel-hopping than radio listeners

Television viewers are more open to channel-flicking than radio listeners are to "moving the dial", according to Pat Kenny, who will front the first home-produced programme on UTV Ireland on January 1st.

Called Out With The Old - In With The U, the New Year's Day documentary features Mr Kenny on a tour of Ireland as he interviews a mix of high-profile personalities - including musician Hozier and Irish rugby international player Tommy Bowe - and members of the public who will celebrate landmark birthdays in 2015.

"People are not as channel-loyal. They are programme-loyal. So I hope that if they enjoy what I do, they will enjoy UTV Ireland, " Mr Kenny said.

The Newstalk radio presenter said this was the first time in 25 years that he had done “on the road” television reporting. “It’s time-consuming, but the roads are far better than they were 25 years ago.”


The one-off programme, which will air at 8.30pm, has been made for UTV Ireland by Loose Horse Productions.

Another independent production company, Coco Productions, will make Mr Kenny's UTV chat show, which will begin in the spring.

Essential ingredients

Mr Kenny said the format of this show was “still in the melting pot”, but that it would feature two essential ingredients: an audience and guests.

The former RTÉ presenter also said he would be keen to be involved in UTV Ireland's coverage of the next general election.

“If there was to be a taoiseach’s debate, or a would-be taoiseach’s debate, I’m sure UTV would like to host one of those, and I would like to be in the chair.”

When the original "Ulster Television" first launched in Belfast in 1959, the first person to appear on screen was actor Sir Laurence Olivier.

The new UTV Ireland, which is dedicated to the Republic of Ireland market, says it hasn’t decided who will be the first face to appear on the channel when it launches at 7.25 pm on New Year’s Day.

Two continuity announcers have been hired, but a five-minute introductory sequence that will go out before an episode of Emmerdale is "still in the edit", according to head of channel Mary Curtis.

Meanwhile, TV3 has confirmed that its new soap opera Red Rock will be broadcast in the 8.30pm slot on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The first two episodes of the Garda-themed show have been previewed to journalists.

They suggest that the soap, which revolves around two warring families, will be a fast-paced, well-acted affair with some comic turns and moments of high drama.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

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