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I won't be stepping in to fill Wossy's shoes, vows our Dara

Comedian Dara O Briain has declared that he won't be the new Jonathan Ross.

The funnyman, who is one of Ireland's biggest exports across the water, has ruled himself out of the running for Ross's Friday night slot on BBC.

Last week, Ross (49) announced that he was quitting the broadcaster after 13 years, fuelling speculation as to his successor would be.

Ross's reported £18m (€20m) three-year contract will expire in the summer and he has decided not to renew it.

O Briain (37) wrote on Twitter that he was "sad to see Wossy go, just because his shows were a lot of fun to guest on". "Very quick, very smart," O Briain wrote. "A really good host."

Fellow Irish comedian Des Bishop suggested: "I think they would be more fun to host for you."

O Briain, who plays Dublin's Vicar Street next Thursday, was quick to reject the suggestion.

"Nah. I have big new bag of gags," he said. "Want to tour them, not chat to someone off Eastenders."

Ross, one of the highest paid television personalities, announced his decision on Thursday, more than a year after he was caught up in a scandal over crude prank phone calls.

In October 2008 Ross and fellow comedian Russell Brand were suspended by the corporation when they left lewd messages on the answering machine of actor Andrew Sachs, best known for playing Spanish waiter Manuel in 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers.

Corkman Graham Norton (46) had been hotly tipped as the front runner to take over Ross's role at the BBC.

But insiders have said that Norton is unlikely to be handed the top job.

The former Father Ted star has been given a new two-year €4.4m contract to stay in his current role at the BBC until 2012, after his Monday night talkshow proved a hit since moving from BBC2 to BBC1 last year.

As a public broadcaster, the BBC has been under pressure to reduce the high fees it gives top talent and Norton took a cut of more than €500,000 to sign the deal which includes a new series of his BBC1 chatshow and a musical talent show, Over the Rainbow, which he will present.

This year, the comedian will also host the Bafta TV awards and BBC1's coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest, for which he replaced Terry Wogan last year.

Comedian Michael McIntyre (33), whose Comedy Roadshow pulled in six million viewers last year, and Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans (43) are believed to be strong contenders to fill Ross's shoes.


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