ITV revive Saturday Night Takeaway

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is to return to ITV in a deal which will see the duo remain with the broadcaster until at least the end of 2013.

ITV Studios have signed up the former Byker Grove stars to exclusively appear on the network for a further two years.

Following a couple of disastrous new formats, most notably the poorly thought-out Red or Black? from earlier this year, the new contract suggests that the pair will steer more towards the tried and tested formats of old, including a revival of their prime time weekend entertainment series Saturday Night Takeaway.

Ant said: “We are really pleased to sign with ITV for another two years and continue to make the programmes we love with the channel.” With Dec adding: “We always said we would bring back Saturday Night Takeaway, so we’re particularly delighted plans are now in place. We have lots of fresh and exciting ideas for the brand new series.”

Saturday Night Takeaway was dropped three years ago, when ratings declined and the format became stale. Ant and Dec have been with ITV since 1998, first a firm fixture of Saturday morning children’s television before moving into prime time. The duo had previously tried evening presenting on BBC One, with moderate success.

“Ant and Dec will also continue to front z-list has-beens reality series I’m A Celebrity…..Get Me Out Of Here and the dubious “talent search” series Britain’s Got Talent which appears to be more interested in providing audiences with a succession of talentless oddballs who are exploited for viewers to laugh at and of course plenty of press inches.” Says TV critic Justin Mason.

Since 2000 the double act have been exclusively signed to ITV, where they’ve bagged a string of awards, some of them even genuinely won without ITV having to rig the votes.

ITV axe-man Peter Fincham who also parades as ITV Director of Television said: “Ant and Dec remain at the very top of their game as two of the nation’s most popular television stars. Their ability to connect with our audience is unrivalled and I’m delighted that we’re extending our exclusive partnership with them both for a further two years.”