Over one million watch Tubridy's Late Late debut

A peak audience of 1.089 million viewers tuned in to see Ryan Tubridy present his first Late Late Show on Friday night, Nielsen Media Research figures indicate. The show was watched by an average audience of 927,000 viewers, which is a 62.3 per cent share of all TV viewing during the entire show. Joe Dalton of Precision Media said that apart from the toy shows, it is the highest rating Late Late for adult and individual audiences since Gay Byrne’s farewell show in May 1999.
After what appeared to be a nervy start, Tubridy soon settled into the new role with his usual confidence and vim. But his style of interview with first guest, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, was seen by some observers as him being just a little too anxious to impress.
Tubridy’s questions to Cowen were well prepared and thought out but he left little time for adequate replies before firing another probing question at his interviewee. In her review in The Irish Times, TV critic Hilary Fannin said Tubridy’s “virgin flight” got off to an “inauspicious start”.
Writing in the Irish Mail, Philip Nolan said Tubridy “showed his chops” by asking tough questions, even though he has to learn that silence during the answers is just as important. Nolan felt a question about Cowen’s drinking was orchestrated in advance.
Nolan said it was clever to frontload the entertainment side of the show with women as Tubridy is an accomplished flirt and “seems to bounce off the ladies” much better than he does off male guests. So, all in all, the new hand at the tiller seems to be a steady one.
“I have to admit,” Nolan added, “I was sceptical when Tubridy was announced as the new host and I’ll reserve judgement until he’s done a dozen Late Lates, but for now you’d have to be impressed.”
The Sunday Independent’s Jody Corcoran was less complimentary.
In the lead news story yesterday, he wrote that the Taoiseach was upset at Late Late “mugging”. Referring to a similar interview Corcoran did with the Taoiseach in the newspaper a few weeks before, Cowen remarked: “At least you gave me a chance to answer.”
Corcoran quoted an RTE executive he spoke to in the Green Room who said that Tubridy’s questions were fine but he could have given the Taoiseach more time to reply. Tubridy defended his line of questioning.
“I thought about it a lot,” Tubridy told Corcoran. “We are at a turning point in the country’s history. I felt I had a duty that the questions be difficult.” Corcoran took Tubridy to task over how he posed the question to Cowen’s about his drinking habits.
Tubridy was quoted as saying: “The Sunday Independent talked about you drinking too much….” Corcoran wrote: “The Sunday Independent did no such thing. I asked the hard question. The Taoiseach answered it… Ryan Tubridy makes my skin crawl.”
Tubridy’s first Late Late also had an interview with former Westlife star Brian McFadden about his cocaine snorting ex-wife Kerry Katona and his efforts to get custody of their two children. Now living in Australia, he said he and Katona hadn’t spoken to one another in four years.
Other guests on Ireland’s longest-running chat show included Joan Collins, Cherie Blair, young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan and former Arsenal footballer Niall Quinn and his wife, Gillian. Sharon Corr and David Gray were among the show’s musical acts.

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