LONDON — Blighty’s biggest private terrestrial broadcaster, ITV, has signed a two-year exclusive deal with two of its biggest stars — “cheeky chappie” presenters Ant and Dec.
ITV declined to indicate how much the contract would net the duo, synonymous with flagship web ITV1’s most popular entertainment skeins, like “Saturday Night Takeaway” and “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!”
The pair have recently filmed a gameshow pilot for ABC in the U.S. entitled “Wanna Bet?” after being aggressively courted by execs who are confident their wholesome humor can cross the pond.
Reports have suggested the U.K. deal could be worth as much as £40 million ($80 million).
This would make Ant and Dec — Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly — among the highest paid talent on British TV.
This elite group includes Simon Cowell, who reputedly signed a contract worth $40 million with ITV in December, and Jonathan Ross, the irreverent BBC anchor who hosted this year’s BAFTA film awards.
Ant and Dec first found fame in the U.K. as school boy actors on the BBC kids’ soap “Byker Grove.”
They later recorded several pop hits under their character names, P.J. and Duncan.
Across the Atlantic they’re best known for their brief cameo, playing themselves, in the pic “Love, Actually.”