Broadcaster Stephen Nolan seems to have successfully pulled off his latest venture on the small screen.
The popular presenter — who boasts “the biggest show in the country” for his Radio Ulster morning programme — won the greatest share of the Northern Ireland television audience on Wednesday night with his first regular slot in three years.
The new series — called The Nolan Show — grabbed 180,000 viewers at its peak.
It averaged 161,000 viewers throughout the hour-long programme, making it the most watched show of the night on BBC NI.
The high viewing figures represented 31% of Wednesday night’s television audience in Northern Ireland, and are said to be three times that who tuned into UTV at the same time.
Last night the outspoken presenter thanked his audience for their support.
“I would like to say thank you so much to the Northern Ireland public for making Wednesday night’s show the most watched programme that night on BBC One NI,” he said in a statement to the Belfast Telegraph.
“Our studio was packed to the rafters with people who came to air their views on the big issues.
“There are no barriers to a Nolan Show — everybody has a right to be on a Nolan Show, and I want this show to grow and grow.”
During the hour-long live show, the opinion-splitting broadcaster tackled punishment shootings, a north coast developer, and regional pay scales, as well as interviewing X-Factor judge and music mogul Louis Walsh.
Former Apprentice contestant and businesswoman Katie Hopkins riled the local audience with her views on regional pay, while a teary-eyed Walsh gained their sympathy as he told of the false sexual assault allegations levelled at him last year.
“Louis Walsh was such a gentleman and I really felt for him when he was explaining how hurtful he found the recent terrible, unfounded allegations against him,” the broadcaster said.
“He is one of the most decent, grounded stars I've met in a long time.”
Nolan finished by saying: “The Nolan team is working really hard on investigations. I am so thrilled to be back on air and can't wait until next Wednesday night.”