Bleakley may switch to ITV after losing BBC deal

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The Independent Culture

The BBC has withdrawn its offer of a new contract to The One Show presenter Christine Bleakley, prompting immediate speculation that she is to join ITV.

The presenter previously admitted she was "torn" between offers to continue her career with the BBC or join its rival ITV. Earlier this month, she acknowledged she had been offered a spot on ITV's morning show GMTV, but said she was reluctant to commit to it because of the job's 5am start time.

In April she expressed her desire to continue at the helm of the prime-time BBC show, despite the loss of co-host Adrian Chiles, who left for ITV. She has since been in discussions with the BBC over a new contract, which have now come to an end. A BBC spokesman said: "We made a full and final offer to her several weeks ago and made it clear we would not be entering into a bidding war with other channels.

"Christine is unable to make a decision and therefore we have regretfully withdrawn our offer as we have to put the interests of The One Show audience first and the uncertainty does not allow us to do that."

Chiles quit the show, which goes out five nights a week, when it emerged that Chris Evans was being brought in as a presenter on Friday evenings. He is currently hosting ITV's World Cup coverage and will take up his role on GMTV shortly.

It is believed Bleakley's BBC contract runs out in September. She recently signed a new management deal and is now represented by the same company as Chiles.