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Friday, 1 December, 2000, 14:43 GMT
Comedian tipped for Big Breakfast job
Johnny Vaughan and Kelly Brook
Vaughan with former co-host Kelly Brook
Comedian Paul Tonkinson is the favourite to succeed Johnny Vaughan as the presenter of The Big Breakfast, according to reports.

Vaughan is due to quit the Channel 4 breakfast programme in the New Year after more than three years of early starts.

Fellow Channel 4 presenter and comedian Paul Tonkinson, who hosts Dicing with Debt, is tipped to take up the post, according to The Guardian.

A spokeswoman for The Big Breakfast told BBC News Online: "Nothing has been decided. We are not even shortlisting yet."

But she did confirm that Tonkinson had been interviewed by bosses at Channel 4 and Planet 24, which makes the programme, about the role.

Struggle

"We are seeing lots of people and we expect to make an announcement in a few weeks," she added.

Ratings on the eight-year-old programme have tumbled in recent months and the show now struggles to attract more than 500,000 viewers.

Channel 4 has yet to find a permanent replacement for Liza Tarbuck who left the programme earlier in the year.

Denise Van Outen was brought back in temporarily to rekindle the "dream team" pairing with Vaughan the two enjoyed in the past, but the move has failed to improve ratings.

On Friday morning, Vaughan quipped at the start of the show: "Welcome to the ailing Big Breakfast!"

Previous presenters of The Big Breakfast include Kelly Brook, Chris Evans and Gaby Roslin.

Tonkinson fronts the quiz show Dicing with Debt, which gives away prizes to students who gamble their loans and overdrafts.

The Big Breakfast is expected to relaunch with a new format next year.

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See also:

05 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Breakfast star Vaughan's back agony
02 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Vaughan quitting Big Breakfast
04 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Van Outen's Breakfast return
29 Nov 00 | UK
Profile: Lord Waheed Alli
04 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Liza's Big Breakfast tears
22 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Baby joy for Breakfast man Vaughan
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