Evans pulls plug on old rival Jono Coleman

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The Independent Online
The award-winning Virgin Radio presenter Jonothan Coleman has been sacked by his former rival and new boss, Chris Evans, while he is on holiday.

The announcement of Coleman's departure was made while he was in his native Australia with his mother, Sylvia, who is ill. But his Russ'n'Jono show partner, Russell Williams, is staying on at the station, in which Evans bought a controlling interest, for pounds 85m, last year. "The show had run its course and Jonothan is moving on," a Virgin spokesman said. "All good things must come to an end and we wish Jono every success in the future."

When Russ'n'Jono were Evans's main breakfast rivals during his spell at Radio 1, Coleman missed no opportunity to take the rise out of him. He taunted Evans with their Sony Award for best breakfast show - a missed prize that angered Evans so much that he refused to accept his Broadcaster of the Year award at the same ceremony. When Evans walked out of Radio 1 because it would not give him Fridays off to prepare his Channel 4 show, Coleman pointed to his own five-days-a-week presenter's job at Channel 5, and said Evans was a lightweight.

Losing their Virgin Radio breakfast slot to Evans in October was a blow for Russ'n'Jono. There were rumours they had been sacked - until Coleman went to a football match with the Virgin proprietor, Richard Branson, and their new drivetime show was announced a week later. Coleman was last on air five weeks ago, before his annual Australian break. Bosses made the decision to let him go two days ago, and told his agent yesterday. Williams, who used to have his own solo show, will now follow Evans at 10am each day, and rising star Robin Banks will do the 4-7pm drivetime show. The spokesman said: "Russ has always been a music presenter, whereas Jono was more of a personality."