Harry Hill will be returning to ITV in some form, the network’s head of programmes has promised – but not with his hugely popular review show TV Burp.
Peter Fincham has said that he is talking to Hill about comedy ideas and is “hopeful” of having an announcement soon.
Following the failure of Hill’s stage musical, the X Factor-themed I Can’t Sing! which closed this week, Hill is likely to have more time on his hands to formulate ideas.
But whatever happens following his negotiations with ITV, his satire about the week’s TV, the madcap TV Burp which saw Hill dissecting the week’s TV and introducing us to mad characters such as Wagbo – a cross between Wagner and Susan Boyle from The X Factor – won’t be coming back, Fincham assured a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch.
“He finds it an exhausting thing to do,” said Fincham. “He wants to do something new”.
Hill sad farewell to TV Burp after 11 years with a special edition which aired in March 2012.
ITV was sorry to see the back of the show which regularly attracted a large audience of more than 5m viewers as well as a wealthy and educated demographic which appealed to advertisers.
At the same lunch Fincham also defended his new breakfast show, Good Morning Britain, after its ratings dropped to below 400,000, saying it needed to be judged in a year’s time, not after a couple of weeks.
He said that the show, which is fronted by Susanna Reid and former GMTV presenter Ben Shephard, had a “really strong line-up” and was “fresh and different” and needed to be given more time to bed in.
He added: “It’s like your breakfast cereal. We are all very habit formed at breakfast time. We wouldn’t expect to see anything happen very quickly.
“We are in it for the long term. We have got a show here that is trying something fresh and different although with many of the familiar elements of a breakfast show. I look at it now and can see the beginnings of something that will make a difference.
“We should come back to this conversation in nine months or a year’s time. I’m just saying, in terms of the speed of change in breakfast television, this is almost too early to have this conversation.”