ITV boss Kevin Lygo has revealed Ant McPartlin WILL return to host I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! this year.
The star’s appearance on the jungle show had been cast into doubt when he entered rehab in June to battle his addiction to painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.
But Lygo, speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival on Wednesday, insisted the show would go ahead, and Ant would be part of it.
He was asked if ITV were considering resting the show as a result of Ant’s battle, to which Lygo responded: “How very dare you!
“Ant is doing really well and we’re expecting him to return to I’m A Celebrity, so we won’t be resting it.”
There had been plenty of speculation that someone would take Ant’s place alongside his long-time presenting partner Declan Donnelly, with names including Holly Willoughby and Stephen Mulhern being thrown into the ring.
But when interviewer Lauren Laverne questioned whether Ant was irreplaceable, Kevin responded with an emphatic “Yes”.
Ant has reportedly checked out of rehab and is now said to be at home with wife Lisa Armstrong and his mother Christine, to help with his recovery.
Dec has previously revealed he “would never” consider hosting I’m A Celeb without his best mate.
Friends told The Mirror that “The last thing [Dec] would do it go to Australia without him.”
And it seems the success of their partnership is key to the success of ITV. Kevin also went on to explain that Ant and Dec’s work on shows such as Britain’s Got Talent as well as the network’s other big reality series were vital to the channel.
“We don’t often talk about shows that have been on for a long time but they are vitally important to ITV and we have to put a lot of resource and effort and energy into keeping these shows fresh and good.
“There have been no new entertainment shows in the last 10 years that have taken the world by storm.”
Read more: Dec’s mum opens up about Ant’s addiction
He also responded to a crowd question as to whether the success of Love Island this year would see the show move from ITV2 to ITV1, but Kevin assured them it was staying where it was.
“You would get a higher rating but you would lose some of the cache and cool and lose some of the young viewers.
“It was very similar to Big Brother when it was on Channel 4.
“Love Island was a phenomenon. They are so rare, these big hits for young people.”