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BBC America nabs ‘Jonathan Ross’

BBC Worldwide Channels takes talkshow

LONDON — BBC Worldwide Channels, including BBC America, have acquired the U.K. talkshow “Friday Night With Jonathan Ross.”

The show returned to British screens in January following a three-month hiatus because of Ross’ suspension following lewd phone calls by Ross and Russell Brand to thesp Andrew Sachs made on Ross’ radio show.

“Friday Night With Jonathan Ross” will bow on BBC America June 12 with an edition featuring Dustin Hoffman and Hugh Laurie.

BBC Canada, UKTV in New Zealand and the BBC Entertainment feeds across Latin America, Scandinavia and Africa have also bought the show.

Famous for his irreverence and off-color humor, Ross is the BBC’s highest-paid entertainer, but his big paycheck — reckoned to be £18 million ($29 million) a year — has been a constant source of embarrassment for the pubcaster, even before the Andrew Sachs affair landed Ross and Brand in hot water.

Some local critics are wondering if Ross’ star is beginning to fade, but he still manages to attract A-list talent to his Friday night U.K. show.

Tom Cruise, William Shatner, Glenn Close, Lionel Richie, Ben Stiller and Eminem are among those featured in the package of shows that will be shown on Worldwide’s international channels.