Christine Bleakley moving to ITV - joining Adrian Chiles on the GMTV sofa
After weeks of procrastinating Christine Bleakley has finally gone with the money and will move to ITV.
The 31-year-old from Co Down has confirmed a multi-million pound channel hop that will see her re-united with former One Show star Adrian Chiles on the GMTV sofa this autumn.
It is understood she has signed an exclusive three year deal and will co-host the re-vamped breakfast show as well as presenting prime-time entertainment shows.
In a statement released last night Christine, who water-skied across the English Channel for Sport Relief earlier this year, said she was excited by the much hyped move from the BBC to ITV.
“I am looking forward to a brand new experience at ITV, albeit with an old friend,” she said.
Although no figures have been officially released it is thought the deal with ITV is worth around £6m.
The switch had been on the cards since April after the BBC announced Radio 2 breakfast show host Chris Evans was being brought in to present The One Show on Friday evenings.
And earlier this week the Newtownards-born presenter revealed she was “torn” between the two channels.
“I have had the most wonderful three years at the BBC and The One Show. It has consumed my life in that time and I would not have had it any other way; I have made great friends and met some incredible people,” she said.
“It is with regret that this experience is coming to an end. I have been torn between working with
Adrian Chiles and remaining at the BBC. I fully understand the BBC had to move more swiftly than I could, and as a result they've managed to help make my mind up for me.”
The BBC had proposed to make Christine one of their biggest stars with a £900,000 contract as the face of the BBC’s London 2012 coverage.
However a BBC spokesman said they had withdrawn their offer yesterday because they did not want to become embroiled in a bidding war.
“Christine is still unable to make a decision and therefore we have regretfully withdrawn our offer as we have to put the interests of The One Show audience first and the current uncertainty does not allow us to do that,” he said.
Meanwhile, ITV director of Television Peter Fincham said he couldn’t wait for Christine to join the team.
He said: “I'm absolutely thrilled that Christine Bleakley is coming to ITV — she's one of television's brightest stars.”
It has been rumoured that GMTV queen Lorraine Kelly could make a move to the BBC to replace Christine.
Christine Bleakley started her TV career as a runner with BBC Northern Ireland.
Later, she worked alongside Stephen Nolan at Citybeat before fronting BBCNI shows such as Sky High and local Children in Need coverage.
She joined The One Show in July 2007 on a £100,000 contract.
In 2008 she was a Strictly Come Dancing contestant and this year became the first woman to waterski across the English Channel for Sport Relief.