Pat Kenny announced on his Show tonight that he will be quitting the Late Late Show at the end of its present term. The announcement came in two stages. First he said that he would be making an announcement that "some of you, not too many I hope" would be pleased with and some would not be pleased with. Later on, he made the announcement itself and received loud and prolonged applause which he stopped by saying "OK, OK, I get the message. I've just changed my mind" after which there was more applause which he again interrupted by saying "Not really".
During his ten year tenure I was present in the audience only on one occasion. Although the content was mediocre there was a buzz in the auditorium helped on by a warm-up that was just too rehearsed. There was also a portion that was to appear on a later show; obviously this part was not live. Afterwards the host was friendly to all comers for a bit of a chat.
Pat Kenny was never able to fill the shoes of Gay Byrne. He could never relax with a guest and was invariably not listening to a reply but focused on his own next question. His nervousness carried over to the interval after a band or singer had performed. The applause for the performance was always cut out with a hand admonishing the audience to be quiet for his next announcement. By contrast, Gay Byrne would sit back smiling in the direction of the performers for as long as the applause lasted, letting them enjoy their moment of glory and adding his own comments of praise when the applause had died down.
On Radio however he is an able performer just as Gay Byrne was and still is. He is also a genial person to talk to. The TV chat show was just not Pat's medium.
There was no explanation given on the Show for his decision to quit except that he and his family had decided that they wanted to spend Friday nights at home.
Coming so soon after John Bowman's announcement that he will no longer present his own Monday night programme "Questions and Answers" on RTE 1, the question that immediately arose was: Were these two presenters pushed in any way or did they really want to go themselves.
We will wait and see.