Tonight with Vincent Browne

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Tonight with Vincent Browne
Tonight title card
GenreCurrent affairs
Presented byVincent Browne
Country of originIreland
Original language(s)English
Production location(s)Ballymount, Dublin 24
Running time45 minutes
Original networkTV3
Picture format576i
Original release4 September 2007 (2007-09-04) [1][2] –
27 July 2017 (2017-07-27)
Related showsThe People's Debate with Vincent Browne
External links
Vincent Browne (#vinb) was presenter from 2007–2017
Former logo of TV3 Nightly News

Tonight with Vincent Browne, (formerly Nightly News with Vincent Browne), is a news analysis, current affairs and politics programme which was broadcast on Ireland's TV3 from 2007 to July 2017. The show was replaced by The Tonight Show hosted by Ivan Yates and Matt Cooper in mid-September 2017.

It was moderated by Vincent Browne — a journalist noted for his rather acerbic style, with The Guardian describing him as "Ireland's Jeremy Paxman".[3]


It was broadcast on Monday to Thursday nights, usually from 23:05 to 23:55, though it was occasionally extended during referendums and general elections. When Browne was absent, another person presents instead: this was typically one of Ger Colleran, Declan Ganley, Tom McGurk, Mary O'Rourke, Sam Smyth or Ivan Yates. When anyone other than Vincent Browne hosted the show, it was simply called Tonight. Each year, approaching the Christmas period, Browne gave out political awards to deserving recipients.[4]

Tonight with Vincent Browne moved to TV3's Sony HD studio but vacated it for two weeks while RTÉ borrowed it to film School Around the Corner, hosted by Ray D'Arcy.[5]


Tonight with Vincent Browne is noted for having coerced various experienced politicians, including Joan Burton and Conor Lenihan, into embarrassing meltdowns live on air. Burton asked Browne if he was "asking me a question or just trying to harangue me?" and then set about repeatedly interrupting Joe Higgins leading Browne to interject: "Joan, you get hyper-irritated when anyone harangues you so please don't harangue Joe", but to no avail as Burton continued to interrupt. When Conor Lenihan refused to resign over the Brian Cowen leadership vote, Lenihan stood up angrily, glared, pointed his finger at Browne and sneered, "It's easy for you to be cynical about people who go into public life and I really do resent the sneering insinuation that you're trying to put to me", with Browne responding, "Conor, you're not going to shout me down and you can take me full-on on this if you like" which is exactly what happened. Lenihan lost his seat dramatically in the general election the following February.[6]

After airing an interview with Fianna Fáil politicians Charlie O'Connor and Darragh O'Brien, recorded outside Leinster House following the vote of confidence in then Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Browne popped up onscreen back in the studio and remarked: "God, it would do your head in, wouldn't it?".[6]

Banking analyst Peter Mathews made a name for himself with regular appearances on the programme and was later elected to the Dáil.[7]

In August 2012, Cian O'Connor gave his first television interview since winning a bronze medal at the London Olympics to stand-in presenter Tom McGurk, while lawyer Eddie Hayes was interviewed by Sam Smyth on the show the following week.

The programme was critical in informing the Irish public about the death of Savita Halappanavar as the news was breaking.[8]

On the night of 28 May 2015, with Browne mysteriously absent and the programme instead moderated by Ger Colleran (editor of Independent News & Media's Irish Daily Star), Colleran read a statement from TV3 management asserting that no discussion about Independent TD Catherine Murphy's comments in the Dáil that day would be permitted following letters from billionaire businessman and INM controller Denis O'Brien's lawyers.[9] O'Brien had earlier successfully applied for an injunction against RTÉ preventing the state broadcaster from airing a report on O'Brien was receiving, with the direct permission of former CEO of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC)—the former Anglo Irish Bank, a rate of approximately 1.25% when IBRC should have been charging 7.5%. This in turn led to outstanding sums of upwards of €500 million. O'Brien then wrote to special liquidator Kieran Wallace to demand that these same favourable terms that were granted him by way of verbal agreement be continued. The Irish government later appointed Kieran Wallace to conduct an investigation into these same dealings. Wallace then colluded with IBRC and Denis O'Brien to seek an injunction in Ireland's High Court to hide this information from the public.[9] High court Judge Donald Binchy granted O'Brien the injunction and told the court that certain elements of the judgement would have to be redacted. The Irish media therefore could not report on details of the injunction.[10] When Independent TD Catherine Murphy managed to successfully raise this in the Dáil on 28 May 2015,[11][12] lawyers acting for O'Brien immediately forced the country's media to censor its own coverage.[13] Foreign commentators covering these events for the international media suggested Irish democracy had been "wiped away at a stroke".[14] Some enterprising citizens received a positive response by printing Catherine Murphy's speech from foreign media coverage and handing copies to passers-by on the streets of the nation's towns and cities in an attempt to inform those relying on state media.[15]

On Monday 27 July 2015, Tonight with Vincent Browne was temporarily replaced with The Late Review during the summer recess. Browne's programme returned that September.

Frequently absent with illness and exhaustion brought on by a tour of the nation with The People's Debate, (and substituted by such names as Ivan Yates and Matt Cooper), on 3 May 2016 Browne returned to the chair after a break that overlapped with the 2016 general election. Listening to Damien English speak well of his party, Fine Gael, on their stance over water, Browne declared "fucking amazing" that "the fella who made a real cock-up" (former environment minister Phil Hogan) had been promoted to the European Commission. Browne immediately explained his indiscretion as follows: "I'm sorry, I've been off for a few weeks". Media hailed it as a moment of "Classic Vincent!".[16]

Brown presented his last show on the 27 July 2017 where Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was a guest.[17]


While politicians often feature, other contributors have included:

Past contributors include:


Despite airing on what is usually considered a graveyard slot, the show has been highly successful with on average 166,000 viewers.[19] However, when TV3 temporarily replaced Tonight with Vincent Browne with UK celebrity reality show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in November 2011, its RTÉ rival The Frontline gained nearly 70,000 viewers.[20]


  1. ^ "You cannot be serious". Irish Independent. Dublin: Independent News & Media. 31 August 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  2. ^ Morahan, Jim (31 August 2007). "Vincent Browne is to anchor TV3's new late-night television news and current affairs show". Irish Examiner. Cork: Thomas Crosbie Holdings. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  3. ^ White, Michael (14 February 2011). "An Irish election in a time of staggering debt and quiet rage". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 9 January 2018. And what of Enda Kenny, the man set to inherit this mess? He ducked last week's leaders debate on TV, ostensibly because its acerbic host, Vincent Browne, Ireland's Jeremy Paxman, had suggested he shoot himself, but actually because he's hopeless on TV.
  4. ^ "Vincent Browne hands out the gongs". Evening Herald. Independent News & Media. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  5. ^ O'Connor, Niall (24 May 2013). "Browne vacates TV3 studio ... for RTÉ rivals". Evening Herald. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b Heaney, Mick (31 March 2011). "A new heavyweight in light entertainment". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  7. ^ Regan, Mary (16 March 2012). "Man from the TV left with little to analyse". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  8. ^ Mullally, Una (17 November 2012). "Savita story resonates around the world". The Irish Times. Retrieved 17 November 2012. It began when front pages of The Irish Times and Irish Independent were shown on Tonight With Vincent Browne on TV3 on Tuesday night, a programme with a busy hashtag: #vinb. Twitter perked up as Irish users burst into conversation, a conversation united in shock. Images of the front pages were tweeted and re-tweeted and the news spread rapidly.
  9. ^ a b "Ireland's media silenced over MP's speech about Denis O'Brien". The Guardian. 29 May 2015.
  10. ^ Paul, Mark (22 May 2015). "Denis O'Brien 'delighted' after winning RTÉ injunction: Injunction prevents RTÉ broadcasting dealings with IBRC". The Irish Times.
  11. ^ "'Deputy Murphy Is Out Of Order'". 27 May 2015. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Bill 2015: First Stage". 28 May 2015.
  13. ^ "[REDACTED]'s 1.25% Interest Rate". 28 May 2015. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Denis O'Brien injunction: what damage to Irish democracy?". 29 May 2015. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Keeping Print Alive". 30 May 2015. Archived from the original on 31 May 2015.
  16. ^ Vincent Browne drops f-bomb during Irish Water debate
  17. ^ "Five things we learned from Leo Varadkar's final appearance on 'Tonight with Vincent Browne'". Irish Independent. 27 July 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Is the Irish media up to the task of reporting our worst ever financial crisis?". Politico. Archived from the original on 15 November 2011.
  19. ^ "Nielsen figures confirm TV3 is the only terrestrial channel to grow share". TV3. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  20. ^ Campos, Adelina (24 November 2011). "Ratings boost for Frontline ...while Browne's off the air". Evening Herald. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 24 November 2011.

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