ITV withdraws pounds 2.5m bid to televise lottery draw

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The Independent Online
THE WEEKLY draw for the National Lottery, beginning in November, is certain to be televised on BBC1 following yesterday's announcement by the ITV companies that they have withdrawn their pounds 2.5m bid for the contract.

Andrew Quinn, chief executive of the ITV Network Centre, said he had been forced to pull out of the negotiations because the Independent Television Commission, ITV's regulatory body, had vetoed part of the plan proposed by Camelot, the consortium that will run the lottery, for a televised game show in which contestants would be chosen from those buying a lottery scratch-card. The ITC said this broke its rule that full editorial control of any lottery programme must remain with the ITV companies.

As well as the pounds 2.5m cash bid, the ITV companies, attracted by weekly audience estimates for the lottery draw of more than 20 million, were offering to incorporate it into one of their high-rated programmes.

The BBC and Camelot said yesterday that they were still negotiating about the contract for the lottery programmes. Neither would comment on whether the BBC would be prepared to broadcast a programme over which it could not exercise full editorial control.

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