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Coveted slot RTÉ star Miriam O'Callaghan reveals missing out on the Late Late Show was her 'biggest knockback'

The 61-year-old was tipped to take over from Pat Kenny after he announced he would be leaving the talk show back in 2009

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Miriam O’Callaghan

Miriam O’Callaghan

Miriam O’Callaghan

RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan has opened up about her “biggest and most public” knockback when she didn’t land a presenting gig on The Late Late Show.

The 61-year-old was tipped to take over from Pat Kenny after he announced he would be leaving the talk show back in 2009.

However, it was Ryan Tubridy who won the coveted presenting slot despite Miriam being a favourite at the bookies.

The Prime Time presenter said that it was her biggest knockback but that she believes that it made her stronger going forward in her career.

She explained in an interview with the RTÉ Guide: “Getting knockbacks maybe makes you stronger. My biggest and most public example of that was when Ryan [Tubridy] got The Late Late Show when all the bookies were saying that I would.

“I remember going home that evening to my kids who just asked ‘What’s for dinner?’. They had no idea. And when I didn’t get the Late Late, the biggest show in the station, I decided to stay with Prime Time.”

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Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy Photo: Andres Poveda.

Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy Photo: Andres Poveda.

Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy Photo: Andres Poveda.

But Miriam came out on top when she was offered the chance to present the Friday night talk show last year after Ryan Tubridy contracted Covid-19.

She presented the show for two weeks while the host recovered and said that she “made history” as the first woman to ever present the show.

“I made history. I got to present The Late Late Show twice even if I only broke the glass ceiling the first time,” the Foxrock native said.

The RTÉ presenter spoke about how difficult it can be to be a woman in the entertainment industry, sharing that a “well-known” contributor declined a spot on Prime Time because of the pressures involved.

Miriam explained: “We had a problem for years with not having enough female contributors on Prime Time. A few years back we wanted this woman who was well-known and would have been perfect.

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“So I rang her and she said that while she’d love to do the show, she wasn’t going to come on because she didn’t have the time to get her hair blow-dried.

“The reality is that on television, the scrutiny that a woman’s appearance comes under compared to a man’s is intense, nasty and critical. With online media platforms, it is even worse.”

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