Belfast Telegraph

Jonathan Ross extends hiatus from chat show

Jonathan Ross' spokesperson has denied claims that his chat show has been axed after falling ratings, insisting the host will simply take a hiatus before the programme returns in autumn 2017.

Jonathan Ross will be taking a hiatus from his chat show when his contract with ITV expires at the end of the year (16).

Ross' show typically runs between January and March every year before returning in the autumn, but 2017 will see him miss the first leg of the programme as he travels to America for work opportunities there. At this time, ITV will replace his show with different programming.

However, a channel insider had told the Daily Mirror that falling ratings, with the lowest coming at 1.8 million, had led to Ross' show being axed.

"Ross is taking a break, which could run and run. The show's been axed by stealth," the source told the publication.

But ITV were quick to dismiss the claims, insisting that while Ross will have a break from the series, he will definitely be back.

"Jonathan is extending his hiatus into the early part of next year to travel to the U.S.," a spokesperson for the star insisted. "The chat show will return in autumn 2017."

Ross' contract with ITV expires at the end of the year (16). He initially moved to the channel in 2011 after causing controversy at his former home, BBC, with situations involving "Sachsgate" - which saw the 55-year-old and Russell Brand prank call former Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs on the comedian's Radio 2 show.

While he was on a £6 million contract at the BBC, Ross took a pay cut to £1.5 million to move to ITV. His contract with the channel has been renewed several times since, but it remains to be seen if it will again.

Ross also hinted earlier this year that his position at ITV could be in jeopardy after his close friend Kevin Lygo was appointed a boss at the channel.

"Maybe I’m not safe," he said. "Being friends means he can be more honest with me than anyone else, so who knows?"

When contacted by the Mirror Lygo said: "Jonathan is very important to ITV and we look forward to working with him again next year."

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