Thursday 17 October 2019

ITV boss: We are not dependent on Ant and Dec

Ant McPartlin stepped away from TV duties following his arrest for drink-driving.

Ant and Dec are hosts of some of the broadcaster’s biggest shows (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Ant and Dec are hosts of some of the broadcaster’s biggest shows (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

ITV is not solely dependent on Ant and Dec, the broadcaster’s chief has said.

The popular duo are hosts of some of the broadcaster’s biggest shows – I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, Britain’s Got Talent and Saturday Night Takeaway.

Ant McPartlin stepped away from TV duties following his arrest for drink-driving.

ITV chief Carolyn McCall told the Broadcasting Press Guild that Holly Willoughby’s turn on I’m A Celebrity, filling in for McPartlin, showed that the broadcaster had a range of talent.

“Ant and Dec are fantastic for ITV. They are brilliant. But it showed that we have lots of talent at ITV,” she said.

“Ant would be the first person to say that Holly did brilliantly in the jungle and we were able to do that with no fuss.

“People were very upset about what happened, what Ant did – once we knew, we took the right decision.

“It was ITV saying, ‘Don’t come back until you are ready’ and we knew that left a big hole.

“But I’m A Celebrity couldn’t have done better. It was the highest rating it ever got.

“So I think we have a depth of talent and we are able to move them around.

“You never want to be dependent on two people and I think that showed we are not. That doesn’t take away from them.”

She said that Ant and Dec were not the “main players” on Britain’s Got Talent.

McPartlin recently told fans he was “emotional” but “thrilled” as he made his return to the talent programme after nearly a year away from work.

The presenter reunited with his long-time presenting partner Donnelly on the first day of auditions for the ITV programme at the London Palladium.

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