NEWSTALK presenter Ivan Yates has issued a come-and-get-me plea to TV3 after admitting he is open to taking over the nightly current affairs show currently hosted by Vincent Browne.
Yates, who recently filled in for Browne for a week during the veteran broadcaster's seven-week summer holiday, matched the ratings of his rival and his performance was widely praised.
Speaking to the Sunday Tribune this weekend, the former politician said: "I'm not saying Vincent should be looking over his shoulder but I am open to the idea. While I am happy for Vincent to have the gig, it is something I would like to do again and on an occasional basis, if TV3 would have me."
Yates said he was "open to any offer" from TV3 after securing one of the highest audience figures in his stint as a stand-in presenter.
The Newstalk breakfast presenter received an audience share of 16%, or 135,000 viewers, at the peak of his time presenting between 30 August and 6 September.
"The bosses were quite excited about that. It was 16% share so they were very pleased. I enjoyed it and I treated it as a bit of craic, but at the end of the day I enjoyed the interaction. From the politicians to the financial gurus, it was all great.
"I found that kind of TV work to be more interesting and more spontaneous than the radio as well. It was quite arduous getting up at 5am the next morning to go into Newstalk, but I was enjoying it so much that I didn't really mind," he adds.
Browne, whose average viewership is approximately 118,000, says that audience figures are not entirely reliable.
"Don't pay too much attention to the viewing figures for they are hugely influenced by what is on the competition."
Although he said he did not miss the show, he admitted some of his replacements may have stolen the limelight.
"I didn't miss it. I was on holidays. I think several of the presenters did great, too great, especially Sam Smyth."
Smyth was the most-watched replacement, with an average audience of 124,000 in his first week of presenting.
Overall, the three most popular stand-in presenters were Smyth, Irish Daily Star editor Ger Colleran and Yates. Least popular were columnists Kevin Myers and Sarah Carey, with average figures of 111,600 to 110,700 respectively.
A source in TV3 said while some presenters proved popular, most of the feedback related to Browne's absence.
"It seemed to everyone in the station that Vincent was actually missed very much by his regular viewers – he is very popular and younger viewers seem to be keen to get him back, because he gets to the point and asks the questions that people want him to ask."
While the station has refused to favour any one of the presenters, Yates said he developed a close relationship with TV3 bosses. "I loved working with [producer] Tom Fabozzi and with [head of News] Andrew Hanlon and I have a positive relationship with TV3."
He also said if he was to work with the station it would have to be on a freelance basis due to his commitments with Newstalk.
19-22 Jul: Sarah Carey 110,700
26-29 Jul: Kevin Myers 111,600
3-5 Aug: Sam Smyth 124,400
9-12 Aug: Ger Colleran 123,300
16-19 Aug: Sam Smyth 108,500
23-26 Aug: Sarah Carey 104,100
30 A-6 Sep: Ivan Yates 117,200