The Late Late Show, sometimes referred to as The Late Late, or in some cases by the acronym LLS, is the world's longest-running chat show by the same broadcaster and the official flagship television programme of Irish broadcasting company RTÉ. The show is broadcast live for over two hours in front of a studio audience at 21.30 on Friday nights between September and May. It is regarded as an Irish television institution, even outside the country, and is considered "Ireland's chat show".
The show, originally conceived as a temporary summer filler programme for a niche audience on Saturday nights at 23:30, began broadcasting on Friday nights in 1962 and was presented by Gay Byrne for over 35 years, on Saturday evenings for some of that time. For most of its early years, the show was broadcast live from Studio 1 at RTÉ in Dublin. The studio was small and could only accommodate an audience of around 100. Gay Byrne talked about this on a 2008 RTÉ programme called "Gaybo Laughs Back", which showed classic comedy moments from his tenure as host of the show. In 1995, the show moved into the more spacious and RTÉ's largest television studio, Studio 4, a studio specifically adapted to cater for this flagship production, and Kenny's former chat show, Kenny Live. The Late Late Show has on three occasions been broadcast externally, most recently from the Wexford Opera House on 5 September 2008. Until recently the chat show was sponsored by Halifax but they declined to renew their sponsorship.
The Late Late Show was first broadcast on Friday, 5 July 1962 at 23:20. Since then its format has remained largely the same, with music, chat, comedy and audience involvement in debates on topical issues. The show's rapid rise to popularity led it to top the ratings consistently on RTÉ for forty years. Some sociologists[vague] have credited it with influencing Irish attitudes towards many issues, and directing social change in Ireland to construct current Irish societal norms. It has outlasted rivals such as TV3's The Dunphy Show,averaging 650,000 viewers per episode and is consistently RTÉ's highest rated programme.
Ryan Tubridy has been host since September 2009, having taken over from Pat Kenny. Under Tubridy, the show is now sponsored by theQuinn Group, having failed to secure a sponsor during Kenny's final season. Audience ratings have increased since Tubridy took on the role of host, with some statistics comparing him to Gay Byrne's time as host.