Ant and Dec: The invasion begins Sunday

AntanddecGet ready for the invasion of the “cheeky chappies” from British TV. Ant and Dec, the TV hosts who are hotter in the U.K. than Simon Cowell and his sneer are on this side of the Atlantic, are prepping for their Stateside debut in the ABC gameshow “Wanna Bet.”

William Morris Agency is looking to get the word of mouth going about these former kidvid producers turned nighttime hosts with an intimate cocktail party for the duo, aka Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, set for Sunday at the Beverly Hills home of WMA’s John Ferriter. Ant and Dec are already at the top of the U.K. TV heap as presenters on ITV’s “Britain’s Got Talent,” “Saturday Night Takeaway” and formerly of “Pop Idol” renown.

The two signed up for the pilot of “Wanna Bet” in March (it was picked up in June), and in April inked a mega-bucks two-year exclusive pact with ITV for the U.K. Ant and Dec are merry pranksters, for sure, but also described as basically wholesome in most of their material. There’s no word yet on the premiere date of “Wanna Bet,” but it’s a safe bet that if a strike sidelines production on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives,” et al, we’ll be seeing Ant and Dec on ABC very soon.

The pair are known for excelling at live TV and for donning elaborate costumes and disguises as part of the “Undercover” segment of their Saturday night variety skein. Here’s a clip courtesy YouTube of the two putting one over on their sometime-boss, Cowell, during an open “American Idol” audition.

(Pic above of McPartlin, left, and Donnelly, right, in May at the British Academy Television Awards by Ferdaus Shamin/WireImage.com)