Chatastrophic: Eamon Dunphy and model Jordan on the former's TV3 chat show

Six years after cancelling a chat show fronted by Eamon Dunphy, TV3 is considering a new flagship entertainment programme.

The Sunday Tribune has learned that station management have been in contact with a number of venues around Dublin to assess their availability as a setting for the new programme.

Speaking this weekend, TV3's director of programming Ben Frow said: "It's true we are investigating a chat show and a new Sunday-night entertainment programme. I believe that TV3 at this point can make the sort of programme which could stand next to anything RTé has in terms of quality and entertainment value."

While the presenter or exact format of the show is still to be decided, one thing is certain: the programme won't be scheduled against The Late Late Show, a challenge which put paid to Eamon Dunphy's chat show. Launched in the autumn of 2003, The Eamon Dunphy Show failed to gain the same viewing figures as its RTé rival, drawing 295,000 viewers on its first night compared with 614,000 for The Late Late Show, leading to its eventual cancellation mid-season.

"Nobody has ever said to me that The Eamon Dunphy Show was rubbish or that Eamon Dunphy as a host was terrible. The only question I ever get asked is: why was it put on against The Late Late Show? That was a scheduling decision taken before I joined TV3.

"If I had been working in the station then, with those kind of ratings I wouldn't have pulled it, only moved it to another time in the schedule," said Frow, who previously worked at Channel 4 in the UK, and was responsible for ratings winners
such as Property Ladder and Location Location Location.

But it is only now, some six years later, that Frow thinks TV3 should try again. "There should be another chat show in Ireland because I think Ireland is big enough for two, but we will be going for a younger, TV3 audience. Look at the likes of Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton in the UK. In some ways I'm delighted Gerry Ryan wasn't given The Late Late Show by RTé because he would have attracted the kind of audience TV3 is after."

Ryan is unlikely to be offered the new presenting job at TV3, as Frow believes it would be bad for morale at the station if an RTé personality was parachuted in. Instead he believes the station can find its next host in-house.

"Watching Colette Fitzpatrick on Midday last week reminded me of the first time I saw Nigella Lawson on TV. You could have her talking to anyone and you wouldn't be able to stop watching. Colette would certainly be in the mix."

While admitting that new Late Late host Ryan Tubridy possesses similar qualities, Frow says he was unimpressed with Tubridy's first Late Late Show as presenter.

"It didn't have enough variety in it. I would describe it as a conveyor belt of guests. How many more guests is he going to bring on, I thought as I watched at home. There were no emotional highs or lows. I'd describe it as safe and competent. Did it blow me away? Definitely not."