Sim­ply Elaine

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - NEWS -

W HEN Elaine Crowley an­swers the phone she is in the mid­dle of dif­fus­ing a ‘sit­u­a­tion’ at her fam­ily home in Cork. Her three-year-old nephew is in the mid­dle of a make-be­lieve game and is re­luc­tant to let his fa­mous aunt leave for a dose of Christ­mas re­al­ity. ‘It’s not a bomb,’ she tells him, scur­ry­ing away to an­other room. ‘Je­sus, Mary and Joseph, I am ex­hausted. Three year olds are very en­er­getic and they get up very early. It is nice to feel love. But they won’t let me leave.’

To be fair Elaine, who un­til now hosted the TV3 af­ter­noon talk show Mid­day, is feel­ing a lot of love; es­pe­cially from her em­ployer. It was an­nounced last month that Mid­day will be re­placed by a mid-af­ter­noon chat show sim­ply ti­tled ‘Elaine’. At a time where stal­wart shows are be­ing poked, prod­ded and sheared by the money men, this is a ma­jor vote of con­fi­dence in the host­ess with the most. To get a show bear­ing your own name is the big­gest com­pli­ment you can get in tele­vi­sion land.

Elaine is quick to re­as­sure her loyal au­di­ence that the core mes­sage of Mid­day will stay the same even if the name is chang­ing.

‘I am up the walls as you can imag­ine and I have to pull a whole new show to­gether by Jan­uary 9. It is go­ing to be Mid­day with el­e­ments of a chat show thrown in there. I have to de­cide how that will work but the panel ele­ment will def­i­nitely stay. I am also go­ing to try and get a celebrity in­ter­view and/or a news in­ter­view ev­ery day if I can. We might also try and take the show into town with a cam­era and get some pub­lic re­ac­tion as well. But I would like to have one 15minute big in­ter­view if I can. But you know your­self, these are all plans and it might not work but sure we have to start some­where. It is fun; I’ll be a very busy girl.

‘You have to split it up into two parts. Pre­sen­ter me is over the moon be­cause it is a huge en­dorse­ment of the brand. Although it is mor­ti­fy­ing think­ing of your­self as a brand. It is a great tes­ta­ment to what we were do­ing be­cause there are so many changes in TV3 with Vir­gin tak­ing over and Bill Malone in the top job. But the fact that they are giv­ing me a show with my own name on it is kind of cool. I’m get­ting slagged off at home that here comes Oprah or Ellen, I’ve Oprah’s a*** and that’s about as close as I am to the two of them. But the pro­ducer side of me knows how daunt­ing a project it is and the first few months will be very much trial and er­ror.’

The celebrity ti­tle doesn’t sit well with the woman from Mal­low, Co. Cork. With five sis­ters and four brothers there was cer­tainly no rest­ing on her lau­rels grow­ing up. She says that when the pow­ers that be sat her down and told her the ti­tle of her new gig she erupted with laugh­ter.

‘I didn’t get much be­yond the name be­cause I just started roar­ing laugh­ing and asked were they se­ri­ous,’ she says. ‘I was think­ing mid-af­ter­noon would be more ap­pro­pri­ate but I just think it is quite strange.’

But now that she has had time to di­gest the ti­tle she has moved on to the me­chan­ics of the pro­duc­tion. When she speaks about the level of de­tail she puts in be­hind the scenes, you re­alise why she was a nat­u­ral choice for the job.

‘I am go­ing to softly ease into it and see how it goes,’ she says. ‘It is an un­fa­mil­iar time slot for me. It’s not prime time where you get the big celeb in­ter­views but it is not the morn­ing where you can sit down and talk bull with a cup of tea. I don’t look at com­pe­ti­tion [RTÉ’s The To­day Show]. I have never ever done that with Mid­day. I never watched one episode of Loose Women and I never watched Mid­day un­til I was in the hot seat my­self. I don’t want to have any idea of what the oth­ers are do­ing so that I can re­main pure.

‘Be­cause it is a chat show. I am not rein­vent­ing the wheel here. Every­one

‘A show with my own name is kind of cool’

does it to a dif­fer­ent de­gree. The crux of the show will very much be the au­di­ence feed­back and the clips and com­ments from the view­ers. I will be look­ing to the pub­lic to tell me what does and doesn’t work and you even know after a day to be hon­est. It is a stu­dio show at the mo­ment but you can’t rule any­thing out for the fu­ture. Lo­gis­ti­cally there isn’t room for it at the mo­ment but in the­ory I would love to have an au­di­ence, I would like to take the show on the road once a month and bring it around the coun­try… that would be cool.’

After spend­ing six years at the helm of Mid­day, pro­duc­ing and pre­sent­ing, Elaine ad­mits she was ready for a change of sorts. The grind of driv­ing her own daily mag­a­zine show as well as do­ing the leg work be­hind the scenes was be­gin­ning to take its toll and the change is most cer­tainly as good as a rest.

‘It needs to be fresh be­cause Mid­day was on the air for a long time and while a lot of peo­ple loved it, ev­ery show has a shelf life. Un­less it is The Late Late Show, in which case it is a na­tional in­sti­tu­tion. You could have a per­form­ing mon­key host­ing it and peo­ple would still watch it. Not that

MISS DYNAMITE:

Elaine Crowley’s self-ti­tled chat show starts to­mor­row

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