A potential new TV chat deal for Jonathan Ross at Channel 4 has been put on hold as the broadcaster prepares to welcome a new boss, it was revealed today.
The presenter - who began his on-screen career with C4 - has been in discussions with the channel ahead of his BBC contract ending this summer.
But it is understood these have been "parked" until incoming chief executive David Abraham arrives in the next few weeks.
Bosses are wary of signing such a major deal until the new head discusses the shape and direction for C4 as it reinvigorates its schedules in the wake of Big Brother.
The reality series will begin its final run on the channel in May, the same month Abraham is expected to take up his role.
Head of Channel 4 Julian Bellamy indicated earlier this year that he was keen on Ross.
"I'm a huge fan. I think he's a brilliant talent. He's a friend of the channel, he started at the channel. Certainly we are in touch, and let's see where it goes," he said in an interview.
A decision about whether to continue the discussion will be among the early items in Abraham's in-tray when he arrives from multi-channel broadcaster UKTV, where he has been chief executive.
A spokesman for Channel 4 said: "We continue to talk to Jonathan about working together."
The deal would have led to around 20 programmes each year for two years. It could have been worth up to £5 million a year to Ross's production company although this would cover all programme-making costs and the presenter's fee would have been only a small proportion of that.
Ross has continued to work for the broadcaster occasionally, including appearances on The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year.