Art: Kirsty tunes in for pounds 500,000

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The Independent Online
Newsreader Kirsty Young's position as the brightest thing on Channel 5 was confirmed yesterday when Talk Radio signed her up to present its daily breakfast show in a deal worth pounds 500,000. It marks a growing trend for broadcasters to work across a number of outlets at the same time.

Young, 28, will continue to present the Channel 5 evening news, where she has made a success of a unique format that involves her perching on a desk and walking around the studio. The current presenters of Talk Radio's breakfast show, Paul Ross and Carol McGriffin, will move to Talk's weekend morning show. The breakfast show is a mixture of news, entertainment interviews and phone ins.

Other news programmes are understood to have been approaching Young, but she recently signed a new contract to stay with Channel 5 until 2000. The channel's news programme has been praised for its new approach: the format less formal, with shorter news items and the news agenda dictated less by Westminster reports and concentrating more on "consumer interest" items. In a separate boost yesterday, the news show picked up the Royal Television Society's craft and design award for the look of the show.

Its style is designed to attract a younger audience than traditional programmes and the show has been getting respectable ratings of around half a million. The distinctiveness of the show was confirmed last month, when the Independent Television Commission allowed Channel 5 to move Young's news to 7pm from January, the same time as Channel 4's news, because they serve very different audiences.