ITV has denied claims Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is set to be scrapped from its schedule.
It had been reported the hugely popular show was going to be axed after 15 series and production staff were already looking for new roles.
Execs also wanted to make Ant’s schedule “less intense” so he could continue to focus on his recovery, it was alleged.
But bosses have shut down the rumours, saying production on the show is due to start in a few months and it will be returning in 2020 as planned.
“Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway will return to ITV in 2020,” an ITV spokesman said.
Ant was forced to step down from presenting duties last year following his drink-drive arrest, and has only just returned to work.
Saturday Night Takeaway, which has been fronted by Ant and Dec since it first aired in 2002, was cancelled this year in light of Ant’s time off.
ITV executive Kevin Lygo said of the decision, “It will be back next year. It was the right decision, because with Ant, we didn’t want him working last year so it was, it wasn’t just a year off on air, it was a year off from work and getting himself straight.
“And he’s done that really well and I’m delighted he’s back and fit and he’s doing Britain’s Got Talent now.
“There was a tonne of preparation (for Takeaway) and Ant and Dec particularly put so much effort in and work so hard on (it), if you think of how it’s put together…
“All those things they do are recorded before the year, they would have been done last September, October, November, and we took the decision, Ant took the decision, that he couldn’t sort of half get back into work.”
Lygo said the broadcaster was not replacing it with one show, but that they had “mixed and matched”, including “a few, extra episodes of Britain’s Got Talent” this year.
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