Pamela Ballantine’s new TV show to go head-to-head with Graham Norton and The Late Late Show
Pamela Ballantine is being lined up by UTV to go head to head with the biggest names in showbusiness.
The popular presenter is to front a new chatshow in the same Friday night slot as Graham Norton on BBC One and The Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy on RTE.
Sunday Life can reveal that the 30-minute UTV Life will go to air at the end of the month.
But bosses have still not settled on a male co-presenter, with a number of names in the frame.
Cool FM breakfast show host Pete Snodden, Q Radio’s Stephen Clements and newsman Marc Mallett are all believed to have all been considered for the role.
U105 presenter and TV weatherman Frank Mitchell is an experienced alternative, having fronted a previous version of UTV Life when it aired at 5.30pm for 10 years and was scrapped in 2009.
The new version comes just 13 months after bosses suprisingly axed light entertainment offering The Magazine, presented by Sarah Travers.
The show attracted a number of celebrity guests in its two-year run, including Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Ruby Wax, Ross Kemp and Fifty Shades Of Grey heart-throb Jamie Dornan.
Pamela yesterday confirmed to Sunday Life that she was set for a return as the new show presenter.
She said: “It’s a really exciting prospect — I can’t wait.
“We hope it’ll put people in the mood for the weekend and encourage people just to sit down and enjoy some light entertainment.
“The lovely thing about UTV is that guests are always treated well, so they always seem to enjoy themselves when they’re in the studio.
“If there are famous faces in town, they’ll hopefully be on the show, and if there’s anything going on that week, we’ll have it covered on the show.
“There will be a fair bit of entertainment too.”
UTV bosses said the show will be “a slice of life, reflecting the people and topics of interest to viewers”.
It will feature a mix of in-studio guests, entertainment news, human interest and opinions.
Pamela added: “It’s not going to have a heavy news agenda — that’s not what we want — but it will be topical.
“I’m sure whoever UTV pick will be wonderful, though.”
The series, which starts on January 29 at 10.40pm, is due to run throughout the whole of 2016, with a break over the summer months.
UTV’s managing director Michael Wilson said: “We’re delighted to be bringing this new programme to the audience — UTV Life is an exciting addition to our 2016 schedule.
“The series is a great investment in local programming, bringing the Northern Ireland audience content that reflects local life as well as entertainment, opinion and an eclectic mix of in-studio guests.
“Details are still somewhat under wraps but more will be revealed as we go forward.”
UTV is expected to be sold to ITV by the end of March.
The decision to sell came after the costly launch of a channel in the Republic, UTV Ireland, which cost UTV Media £13 million in its first year.