Northern Ireland-born television presenter Christine Bleakley is being head-hunted to front a string of prime time programmes, including the Xtra Factor, it has been reported.
ITV bosses are hoping a multi-million pound package will help persuade the 33-year-old Newtownards beauty to move off the sofa on BBC’s The One Show to host Simon Cowell’s popular X Factor spin-off.
Christine, who is currently dating England footballing star Frank Lampard, has raised her celebrity profile considerably after taking part in Strictly Come Dancing two years ago and, more recently, raising £1.3m for Sport Relief by becoming the first woman to waterski across the English Channel.
It has been reported that ITV are pulling out all the stops in their bid to poach her.
“ITV are desperate to nick Christine from the Beeb. They’re in talks about a number of very big projects,” sources inside ITV told the News of the World yesterday.
“But she’s very reluctant to leave The One Show and that would make it hard for her to present the Xtra Factor on Saturdays and Sundays because it would mean working seven days a week.
“The BBC will be very worried but Christine doesn’t have a golden handcuffs deal which means she can do shows on rival networks. Obviously the Beeb don’t want her on the rival station but they might have to let her do some work there just to keep her on The One Show.”
Christine is also a friend of media mogul and X Factor executive Cowell and attended his 50th birthday party in London last year.