Ant and Dec on the move?

Papers suggest Geordie duo could be going stateside for half the year


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The takings at local riverside pubs could be set for a hit with national newspapers claiming that Ant and Dec are to sign a £6mn pound deal to take their Saturday Night Takeaway concept to the US.

The deal, masterminded by Pop Idol's 'Mr Nasty', Simon Cowell, will see a pilot show filmed in the UK just before Christmas. As it is aimed at American viewers they will be looking for US citizens based here to make up the studio audience.

It could also mean that Pop Idol's two most popular presenters and its least popular judge will be leaving the series. Ant and Dec reportedly wanted to do something more demanding than reading the autocue on the popular talent show.

Dec was quoted in the Independent as saying: "We have been asked by The Fox Network to do a pilot of Saturday Night Takeaway and we'll be filming that before Christmas. I think the plan is to get an American audience in for the show, but we are filming it in the UK. Then we are going to see how it goes - whether Fox like it and whether we like it."

Fox TV have bought the rights to Saturday Night Takeaway and want the Chiswick-based duo to host the show. They are confident that their geordie accents can be toned down so that American audiences can understand them. Little Ant and Dec are not likely to appear in the American version.

Ant McPartlin reportedly said that breaking into the States had never been a high priority for them but he was keen to see how the show was received. If the show is a success the pair stand to make as much as £1.4mn each but it could lead to them having to spend as much as half a year in the US.

Greg Dyke, head of the BBC, has also been attempting to tempt them away from ITV with a major new deal when their current contract expires.

The pair are regularly spotted around Chiswick and all reports suggest they are as personable and likeable in real life as they appear on TV. They are often seen late-night shopping in Sainsbury's and are usually prepared to take time to joke and chat with staff.

Even if the pilot show is a success the pair will remain on British TV Screens for at least a year as they are contracted to continue appearing in Saturday Night Take Away until next October as well as hosting another series of "I'm a Celebrity get me out of here".

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November 7, 2003