Tubridy's 'Late Late' debut draws 1.6m


More than a million people tuned in on Friday night to watch new Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy’s interview with Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

In total around 1.6 million tuned in at some stage of the programme making it the most watched Late Late Show, outside the toy show, since Gay Byrne’s retirement in 1998.

Overall, it is estimated that 927,000 people tuned in to the whole programme which also included interviews with Brian McFadden, who spoke at length about his relationship with his ex-wife Kerry Katona and the veteran actress Joan Collins.

The Late Late Showhad a massive audience share of 62 per cent, the same that Pat Kenny had when he debuted as presenter in 1999.

Tubridy said it was “easily” the biggest audience of his career. “I was very pleased with that result. It is a testament to the hard work that went on behind the scenes for the biggest professional night of my life”.

He spoke at the launch of a campaign today to promote Irish radio which now has more than three million listeners for the first time. Choose Radio is being jointly run by the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland and RTE Radio.

“It is good to know that in this age of digital television and serious competition, this reliable friend that is the Late Late Showis still operating business as usual,” said Tubridy. “I was well served by a bunch of people who put their hearts and soul into the programme.”

Tubridy said he was never bothered about the critical reaction to the show. “I think that now, we have the figures we can say that the show went well. It is not for the critics to decide whether the show was a success or not, it was the viewers. If the numbers are anything to go by, I feel very grateful for the viewers for tuning into it in such numbers.”

Tubridy said he would not have changed a second of his show especially the interview with the Taoiseach who he pointed out was pleased with how it went.

“I wasn’t out to get the Taoiseach. He gave a very robust account of himself. I thought he came out of it better than he went into it,” he said.

“That is testament to some tough questions and some admirable answers. I thought it was good all round.”

He also confessed that he had not read the Sunday Independentfront page story which suggested that Mr Cowen had been unhappy with the interview.