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RTE’s Monday night slot suffers major ratings drop after Claire Byrne’s departure

Replacement show drops over 70,000 TV viewers

Claire Byrne found the work toll gruelling

Sharon Tobin

David McCullagh

Eugene MastersonSunday World

Claire Byrne’s departure from RTÉ’s Monday night live current affairs slot appears to have had a huge impact with a drop of tens of thousands in viewers.

Byrne’s star appeal draw saw her woo over 200,000 viewers to her programme, and, at times during the height of the pandemic, was attracting over 300,000.

The Laois woman recently announced she was leaving Claire Byrne Live to concentrate on her RTÉ Radio 1 morning show, as she was finding the work toll gruelling.

But the replacement Monday Night Live show on RTÉ One which has a rotating series of presenters, has proved to be not as popular as Claire Byrne Live.

Veteran presenter David McCullagh hosted the first two shows of the series, but the second show on the health service drew in an average audience of just 137,000.

David McCullagh

The first programme, which concentrated on the cost-of- living crisis, had an average of 167,000 viewers.

Sharon Tobin will present the next two shows of the eight-part series, which will focus on crime and housing.

RTÉ has defended the figures.

“The brand new eight-part current affairs autumn series, Monday Night Live, has had a solid start and is providing strong first-hand insights as well as allowing time for debate and analysis.

“This coming Monday, Sharon Tobin takes on the role of presenter and will be examining the topics of housing and crime with a panel of guests over the next two weeks.”

Sharon Tobin

They add: “The first programme on the cost of living saw an audience of 339,000 viewers tune in, with an average audience of 165,000 watching the hour long show.

“Programme two focusing on solutions for Ireland’s health service saw an audience of 319,000 viewers tune in to the late-night show with average viewership of 137,000 watching the hour long programme.”

RTÉ sources admit the average viewership for Claire Byrne Live during the same period last year was 203,000.

But they stress it’s “unfair to cherrypick two programmes from a five-and-half year series compared to two shows from a new series on the dedicated topics that effect so many people,” said a spokesperson.

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