John Ryan (publisher)
|Occupation||Journalist and Publisher turned comic actor/writer|
|Known for||VIP (magazine), TV Now, New York Dog (Magazines) This is Nightlive (Television) blogorrah.com, Broadsheet.ie (Website)|
John Ryan is an Irish former publishing tycoon-turned comic actor/writer. He is best known for his publishing empire which included the magazine New York Dog and the website blogorrah.com, he did achieve success with magazines such as VIP with former business partner, Michael O'Doherty. In 2009 he created and starred in a RTÉ Two comedy television show This is Nightlive, which mimics the antics of Ireland's newscasters and other newsroom members.
Ryan had a bohemian upbringing with a number of his relatives being well known in the arts scene in Dublin. His grandfather on his fathers side was Seamus Ryan, a Senator who was wealthy through his 36 outlets in Dublin of "The Monument Creameries". His grandmother was a patron of Jack Yeats amongst others. Other notable relatives included the artist Patrick Swift who was an uncle as well as the actress Kathleen Ryan.
His father, John Ryan Snr, was a well-known artist and man of letters in bohemian Dublin of the 1940s and 1950s. He was a friend and benefactor of a number of struggling writers in the post-war era, such as Patrick Kavanagh and Anthony Cronin. He organised the first ever Bloomsday and founded Envoy, A Review of Literature and Art. The pub he owned, The Bailey, became a literary institution. He was friend and benefactor to many artists. For some he was a sort of 'Dublin Prince'. He also owned a residence in the city centre used by artists and musicians as a place to stay in Dublin.
Ryan started his career in journalism with a local newspaper in north London, 'The Hornsey Journal'. As he lacked any experience or training, he persuaded the editor to let him work for nothing initially, to prove himself. He worked behind the bar in a local pub to make ends meet. When covering the opening of the local outdoor swimming pool for the paper, he jumped fully clothed into the pool while wearing a suit - ensuring good coverage of the story. Ryan served as a war correspondent during his early years. He was also editor of Magill magazine and The Sunday Times Culture section in addition to journalism with the Sunday Independent.
Breaking the Charlie Haughey and Terry Keane Affair
In 1999 whilst editing the Culture section and working as a journalist at The Sunday Times, Ryan broke the story of the long time affair between the former Taoiseach and Terry Keane, enstranged wife of former Chief Justice Ronan Keane and a columnist of The Keane Edge at The Sunday Independent. Keane had left The Sunday Independent on bad terms and Ryan, who had worked with her at The Sunday Independent, approached her to sell her story to The Times. Ryan orchestrated her infamous appearance on The Late Late Show where she first admitted the affair as he felt that a British newspaper breaking the story wouldn't go down well in Ireland.
The Sunday Supplement
Ryan briefly hosted a Sunday morning current affairs show on Radio Ireland (later Today FM) entitled The Sunday Supplement. The show continues to this day, with Ryan being succeeded as host by journalist Sam Smyth.
Ryan was also known for his business partnership with Michael O'Doherty, who he co-founded and owned VIP magazine with. Ryan's publishing company owned the publishing venture Stars on Sunday which folded with losses. He then set up the New York Dog magazine, which he promoted on The Late Late Show, and a New York City-based website, blogorrah.com, which was described by the Irish Independent as "a sort of Phoenix without portfolio". The site was edited by Derek O'Connor but mysteriously stopped filing new posts in July 2007. After the collapse of his business empire in early 2007, Ryan was declared missing after he claimed a pet-food scare led to the closure of New York Dog. Staff at Manhattan's Cinema Café, a regular haunt said: ‘He would come in here with his dog pretty regularly, but we haven’t seen him for months. The last time [we] saw him, he looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders’, whilst his partner O'Connor declared that he had not spoken to Ryan since he had left New York City a few months previously and said his email address was ‘out of commission’. O'Doherty said he had not heard from Ryan for over a month. Before his disappearance Ryan had attended the Electric Picnic music festival in the company of fellow publisher Trevor White and soon after appeared as a guest on The Tubridy Show. A rival website then accused him of mistreating his workers and he left the country.
This is Nightlive
Ryan returned to Ireland in 2008 to pitch his idea for a new television show to RTÉ. The show, This is Nightlive, launched in January 2009. It was satirical in nature and parodied a typical newsroom fronted by the fictional anchorman Johnny Hansom. Hansom (played by Ryan) and his team who present a Lifestyle News show on which they claim that "they are the news". Ryan modelled his show on The Colbert Report, a show with a cult following on American cable television. He expressed fears of potential criticism in the build-up to the launch of the show. He announced that he expected "to be taken out the back and given a good kicking". RTÉ was reported to have been "wary" of criticism to the point that it was decided not to send out any advance tapes to the press, with Ryan reported to have been planning to reproduce the worst reviews for the pilot on a ticker tape to trail across the screen during the follow-up episode. He declined at least one pre-broadcast interview and after its commencement intends to "go off travelling for an unspecified time". The Irish Independent’s resident critic John Boland was unamused with the "lame delivery" in the first episode and the lack of a good script for which Ryan, he points out, is to blame not only for his own character but also for the woman impersonating TV3's Lorraine Keane and weatherman Martin King. However, he "chuckled a few times" at the rolling ticker tape containing such comical inserts as "Middle-aged man still won't shut up about Leonard Cohen concert, say friends" and "Katie Melua admits she may have been wrong about number of bicycles in Beijing".
- "AC/DC date shows Irvine's secure over his sexuality". Irish Independent. 16 November 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
- "John Ryan is back with the mutant child of Blogorrah". Irish Independent. 29 May 2010.
- J. P. Donleavy in a letter to the Irish Times
- "Andrea gives Ryan some dog's abuse". Irish Independent. 29 October 2006. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
- "Publisher John Ryan ‘missing’.". Random Mostly Irish News. 25 November 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
- "RTÉ Announces Highlights For 2009". IFTN. 6 January 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
- Battles, Jan; Coyle, Colin (21 September 2008). "Ardal O'Hanlon to star as sitre returns to RTÉ". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 4 January 2009.
- "The Diary, Ken Sweeney - Ryan expects a 'good kicking' over new spoof TV show". Sunday Tribune. 4 January 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- "RTE comedy? You're having a laugh...". Irish Independent. 10 January 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
- Brian Lavery (August 16, 2004). "MediaTalk; For Dogs in New York, A Glossy Look at Life". The New York Times.
- This is Nightlive site