Pat Kenny has given new Late Late Show presenter Ryan Tubridy full marks for his first show after replacing him as host.
Although he missed it on the night – opting to visit a restaurant in Dalkey for a pizza – Kenny watched the programme at home the next day, and said Tubridy ticked all the right boxes.
"I think Ryan did very well and confounded some of his critics by asking direct questions," said Kenny. "I thought it was a good start. I won't analyse it too much or say he should have done this or that because The Late Late Show is of the moment. It's Friday night and people are watching telly with a glass of wine."
Kenny also explained why he had not been one of the 1.6 million people who had tuned into the show, instead choosing to dine out with his family at the Ragazzi restaurant.
"What would the point be in stopping doing The Late Late Show to have Fridays off if I sat in and watched it?" he said. "The whole idea was to free up my weekends. Going out for a meal was a nice thing to do to mark the first free Friday of the rest of my life."
The RTé presenter also said that he did not mind Taoiseach Brian Cowen's decision to face the nation on The Late Late Show rather than on Kenny's new political debate programme The Frontline, which makes its debut tomorrow week.
"I don't blame the Taoiseach. His handlers felt he needed to get out there and we were not available to him until 21 September. Had we been on, I don't know if he would have chosen us. People will probably opt for whatever show is going to do the appropriate interview for them."
With little over a week before transmission, Kenny said his new programme was still very much in planning.
"We got our studio set in on Monday. It's very different to The Late Late Show set. It has a current affairs feel to it, not woody or panelled, more modern looking than that. The signature tune has yet to be finalised. From what I've heard, it has a touch of suspense to it, but my producer Dave Nally also wanted a hint of optimism."