Country Music Special gives RTÉ’s Late Late Show viewing figures a boost in the right direction

Country Music Special gives RTÉ’s Late Late Show viewing figures a boost in the right direction

Despite an impressive average audience of 830,000 for Patrick Kielty’s debut, the Late Late Show lost viewers week on week until last Friday night’s Country Music special. 

Friday saw Kielty host Declan Nerney, his goddaughter Una Healy, Philomena Begley, Father Brian D’Arcy, and Cliona Hagan. 

According to viewership figures released by RTÉ, the second episode of the flagship show had an average audience of 548,000 while the third episode, on September 29, had 62,000 fewer viewers at 486,000.

This week’s offering saw numbers jump back up to 548,000 — however those figures are still 10,000 lower than the previous Country Music Special hosted by Ryan Tubridy in March, which had an average audience of 558,000.

Patrick Kielty’s opening show generated a whopping 158,000 streams on the RTÉ player, but subsequent streaming figures have dropped to 68,000 and 48,000 for the second and third show respectively.

The Late Late Country music special generated 53,000 streams, 18% higher than the previous special in March, and there was a 40% increase in total interactions on social media.

Group head of entertainment, music and comedy at the broadcaster, Alan Tyler, says the figures are encouraging: “We’re delighted to see Patrick connect so well with the public, particularly with younger audiences through RTÉ Player and increased social media engagement. To deliver audiences of over half a million in the midst of increased competition and in an age of on-demand viewing is a fantastic achievement. We look forward to seeing Patrick’s Late Late go from strength to strength.” 

The figures come amid reports of tension behind the scenes of the show. This week saw the abrupt departure of its most senior producer just four weeks into the season. Executive producer Jane Murphy has left the Late Late Show, having overseen its relaunch this year.


Sources close to the show told the Irish Examiner there had been “tensions” behind the scenes during the first few weeks of this season, including between host Patrick Kielty and Ms Murphy over issues including the guests and his appearance on an episode dressed as a jockey on a mechanical horse.

Mr Kielty is also understood to have been sensitive to media coverage suggesting he had not asked boxer Carl Frampton questions about his links to the now-defunct MTK boxing firm which was founded by crime boss Daniel Kinahan.

The decision to air the annual country music extravaganza last Friday night so early in the season was seen by some as an attempt to boost viewership figures which had been declining since Kielty’s debut last month. 

Patrick Kielty will this week present his fifth episode of the flagship show
Patrick Kielty will this week present his fifth episode of the flagship show

Stand-up comedian Kielty pulled in an average audience of 830,000 during his first night of hosting. At its peak, there were 934,000 watching live while a further 158,000 people streamed it on the RTÉ Player.

As expected, after the first show, many tuned out once more having satiated their curiosity about how the County Down man would handle taking over as host.

It remains to be seen whether figures will settle as the show continues to try to find its rhythm.

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