Young returns to Channel 5 in deal worth £1m

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The Independent Online

A package of £1m and more time to spend with her family has lured the ITV newsreader Kirsty Young back to Channel 5, in a coup for her old employers.

Ms Young, 32, was one of Channel 5's biggest stars in its early days, but she moved to ITV two years ago for a fee believed to be £200,000 for newsreading and extra money for other current affairs shows.

Her decision to return to Channel 5 after becoming a household name at ITV is unexpected. It is understood that she was tempted by the money – £1m over two years – but also by the extra flexibility she will have to spend more time at home with her eight-month-old daughter, Freya.

At Channel 5, she will front the 5.30pm and 7.30pm bulletins, and can be out of the building by 8.30pm.

There may be another consideration as to why she is deserting a channel that can attract seven million viewers for a news bulletin, for one that attracts a million viewers. At Channel 5 she will be the number one newscaster, while at ITV Sir Trevor MacDonald is first in the pecking order; and there is a strong roster including Katie Derham and Mary Nightingale.

The rehiring of Ms Young, who will return in the new year, is one of the first moves by Channel 5's new director of programmes, Kevin Lygo, who arrived from Channel 4 to give the station a higher profile.

Ms Young said: "After an exciting and challenging time at ITV, particularly during the events of the last few weeks, the offer to be part of the new team at Channel 5, at a time when news enters a whole new dynamic and competitive phase, is irresistible."

Kevin Lygo said: "We're thrilled at the return of Kirsty Young. She always represented the channel's best values – of being modern and accessible – and she delivers the news with great style and credibility."

Kirsty Young was the original presenter of 5 News when it was launched in 1997. She managed to combine an air of authority with informality, famously perching on the edge of her desk, rather than behind it.