Kirsty Young in £1m switch to ITV

The Channel 5 newsreader Kirsty Young is to leave her £400,000-a-year job and join ITV in a deal that could be worth up to £1m.

The Channel 5 newsreader Kirsty Young is to leave her £400,000-a-year job and join ITV in a deal that could be worth up to £1m.

Ms Young and her lawyers have been locked in secret talks with ITV chiefs for several weeks. She is expected to join big name presenters Sir Trevor McDonald, Martin Bashir and Katie Derham when her contract expires at the end of the year, possibly with her own prime-time interview series. She could also be placed on a roster of newsreaders for the main ITV bulletins, with Nick Owen and Julia Somerville.

Reports of the move follow a warning by watchdogs to ITV to reverse the ratings slide which has affected its regional programmes since it scrapped News At Ten. Sir Robin Biggam, chairman of the Independent Television Commission, has told the channel it has six months to improve regional viewing. ITV said it was working on solutions to the problem.

Sir Robin expressed his concerns at an ITC dinner. He said: "It is already clear that viewing and ratings for regional programmes have suffered badly, especially for the all-important regional news magazines."

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