SATURDAY Night Takeaway will return next year with work beginning on Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly’s show within months, ITV has told The Sun Online after claims it had been AXED.
A newspaper had suggested that the show was being binned for another year to ease Ant’s workload as he returns to the spotlight after taking time away to deal with his drink and drug addictions.
ITV said Saturday Night Takeaway was confirmed to be returning next year[/caption]
The Daily Star Sunday even said ITV were trying out alternative programmes for the slot, with a source quoted as saying: “A number of new shows are being tested for prime time.
“There are plans to film pilot episodes and see what works. Takeaway is a massive hit. But making sure Ant is OK is the top priority for ITV.
“Execs want to make his schedule less intense so he can have more time to focus on his personal problems. And the obvious choice is to drop Takeaway.”
However, a spokesman told us the show would be coming back to the channel, insisting: “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway will return to ITV in 2020.”
The pair with Ashley Roberts on the Saturday Night hit in 2015[/caption]
Dec hosted the show – with some help – after Ant’s arrest for drink-driving[/caption]
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Production is now expected to begin on the show in the next few months.
Saturday Night Takeaway was put on ice for 2019, with Ant explaining last year that his recovery had been going “very well”.
He added: “For that to continue, having spoken to Dec and ITV, I have made the decision to take the rest of the year off.
“I’d like to thank both Dec and ITV for their continued support and I look forward to getting back to work in the new year.”
Dec today revealed how he wanted to “punch and hug” his TV partner Ant when he heard he had been arrested for drink-driving.
The Geordie duo have worked together for almost 30 years but angry Dec said last year’s scandal almost caused them to split up.
Speaking to The Guardian’s Weekend magazine, Dec, 43, said: “It felt like a nightmare, that there’d been a mistake. ‘Of course he didn’t do that.’”
But the following day Ant told him it was true. “We had a heart-to-heart. I said, ‘Look, forget everything – TV, the partnership – you’ve just got to go and get well.’”
However, he added that he was also angry, asking: “How could he do that? I wanted to punch him and hug him at the same time – and I didn’t know which one I wanted to do first.”
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