Former Bake Off hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins have withdrawn from presenting ITV's The Nightly Show.
The duo, who were in talks with the producers of the new entertainment and chat format about fronting it for a week later in the run, issued a statement which said: "We were approached to take part in the series however, due to our busy schedule we were unable to make the dates work. We do wish the team all the best with the remainder of the series.”
It has been speculated that the pair ultimately decided against hosting the new satirical entertainment show after it was critically panned and also struggled in the ratings.
In its first week, presented by David Walliams, it debuted strongly with 2.8 million viewers following the opening episode of Broadchurch but crashed to 1.2 million the following day.
The show then had a boost on Wednesday night, pulling in 1.8 million viewers when it aired straight after Benidorm, but suffered another dip on Thursday, drawing just 1.3 million. The final episode on Friday attracted a low of 1.1 million.
This week, the show is being presented by John Bishop and has continued to struggle, pulling in just 1.16 million viewers on Tuesday night and continuing to attracting mediocre reviews.
ITV sources said the channel identified Mel and Sue as a popular pair with the capacity to revive its fortunes.
An ITV spokesman told RadioTimes.com: “Mel and Sue were never signed to present The Nightly Show. The production team undertook discussions with them about the possibility of presenting a week but due to their hectic schedule this wasn’t possible.”
Davina McCall will present the show next, with Gordon Ramsay also confirmed as a host, and Jack Whitehall and Sarah Millican rumoured to have been lined up for later weeks.
The show has also proved controversial at ITV’s news presenter ITN.
Producers there are said to be “furious” that The Nightly Show has shunted the main night-time bulletin to a 10:30pm slot for the duration of its planned eight week run.
Questions are already being asked about whether it will last that long in the 10pm slot – even if ITV executives are telling production staff to “keep the faith”, according to one well-placed source.
ITV programmes boss Kevin Lygo visited ITN staff earlier this year to reassure them that the news bulletin would be returning to 10pm when The Nightly Show finishes.
RadioTimes.com understands that ITN staff kept a “detailed record” of their meeting and Lygo’s assurances. But if The Nightly Show continues to experience poor performances the news could return sooner than expected...