A few weeks before the studio lights are due to go down on Jonathan Ross's Friday night chat show, leaving the one-time BBC stalwart to reflect on the ignominy that followed the "Sachsgate" affair in 2008, ITV is rumoured to be in talks with the presenter about a comeback.
It is understood that Ross will sign a non-exclusive deal with the commercial broadcaster for a revamped version of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, which will air for the last time on BBC1 on 16 July.
Executives at ITV are thought to be preparing the chat show for an autumn debut and may place it in the lucrative Saturday slot that follows The X Factor. The potential move would follow the channel's high-profile signing of The One Show presenter Adrian Chiles, who is also likely to be joined by his former BBC colleague Christine Bleakley before long.
An ITV spokesman said: "We talk to talent on a regular basis about projects at ITV but there's nothing we can confirm at this time."
Ross, 49, became embroiled in controversy in October 2008 when he and the comedian Russell Brand left obscene messages on the answerphone of the 80-year-old former Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs about his granddaughter Georgina Baillie.
The stunt, on Brand's BBC 2 radio show, landed the corporation a £150,000 fine from Ofcom and led to the suspension of Ross for three months. Brand and the then head of Radio 2, Lesley Douglas, both resigned.
Ross had been in talks earlier this year about a return to Channel 4 where his career began, but the plans were shelved after a change in leadership at the channel.Reuse content