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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Big Breakfast washed up
The Big Breakfast
Recent hosts Donna Air, Paul Tonkinson and Amanda Byram
Channel 4's The Big Breakfast is to be axed - or at least extensively re-worked - early in 2002.

Channel 4 confirmed the end of the series after months of speculation about the future of the show, which has seen its audience fall to less than 500,000 - and sometimes as low as 290,000.

Denise Van Outen
Denise Van Outen has gone on to a stage career
The channel is asking independent production companies for ideas to fill the slot, but has left open the possibility of a new version of Big Breakfast staying on-air.

Tim Gardam, Channel 4's Director of Programmes, said: "A revitalised Big Breakfast remains a strong contender to keep the slot."

Glory days

The programme recently lost presenters Paul Tonkinson and Donna Air, but the presenting team had failed to match the appeal of previous pairings.

The show's glory days were back in 1992 when Chris Evans and Paula Yates - and later Gaby Roslin - attracted audiences of up to 1.5 million viewers.

Next came a ratings drop under Zoe Ball, Mark Little and Sharron Davies until Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen revived the show in the late 1990s.

But a reunion of Vaughan and Van Outen for three months at the beginning of this year failed to recapture the old magic - or the old ratings - as did an extensive relaunch with new presenters.

Alternatives

The programme is made by Planet 24 but tenders for its replacement are open to all TV companies.

The submission for outline ideas for alternatives will be overseen by Sharon Powers, Channel 4's editor for entertainment, in consultation with Tim Gardam.

Johnny Vaughan with Kelly Brook
Popular host Johnny Vaughan with Kelly Brook
"Any new proposal will have to convince us that it has the distinctiveness and invention to rival The Big Breakfast's appeal to its core audience," said Mr Gardam.

Producers have until 9 July to submit proposals and a decision about a more formal tender development will be taken later in the summer.

See also:

19 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Big Breakfast 'not over'
06 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Big Breakfast host sacked
12 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Breakfast over for Denise and Johnny
22 Jan 01 | Entertainment
New faces at Big Breakfast
02 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Vaughan quitting Big Breakfast
04 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Liza's Big Breakfast tears
04 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Van Outen's Breakfast return
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