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Thursday, 14 March, 2002, 15:48 GMT
SM:tv drops presenter Redmond
Brian Dowling, Tess Daly and James Redmond
Newest faces: Dowling, Daly and Redmond
SM:tv Live presenter James Redmond has been sacked from the Saturday morning show just months after landing the coveted job.

The production company behind the show said it had decided to ditch Redmond with immediate effect, calling his position with SM:tv "untenable".


This has come as a complete shock to me

James Redmond
But the former Hollyoaks actor, who replaced Ant and Dec, said he had had no warning of the sacking and felt "completely gutted" at being forced out.

Reports suggested Redmond did not settle in to the job of presenting and doing sketches on the show, which was also fronted by Cat Deeley, Tess Daly and Big Brother winner Brian Dowling.

Deeley was an old hand at presenting the show, having worked on it successfully with Ant and Dec, while Daly and Downing were brought in with Redmond as new faces.

Cat Deeley
Cat Deeley leaves SM:tv in April
Blaze Television confirmed Redmond would no longer be part of the show and the search was on to find a replacement member.

'Big hug'

"It became clear that James's role was not working out," Conor McAnally, executive producer of SM:tv Live and cd:uk said.

"We felt it was for the best that James should leave now, allowing him to concentrate on his acting career, and ourselves to add a different face to our new, strong presenting team,"

But Redmond said: "This has come as a complete shock to me. After the last show, the executive producer Conor McAnally gave me a big hug, said he was 'proud of me' and said 'it's all coming together'.

"Yesterday, without anything in writing from the production company, I found out I was fired."

Ant and Dec
Ant and Dec went on to present Pop Idol
He added: "Contrary to present press reports, I loved doing the programme and working with Cat, Tess and Brian."

The news comes at a difficult time for SM:tv as Bafta-winner Cat Deeley, who also presented it with Ant and Dec, prepares to leave the ITV1 show.

However, she will continue to front cd:uk, the pop programme which follows SM:tv.

Struggle

Ant and Dec began the show three years ago and after a slow start it began to eclipse the BBC's Saturday morning kids' show, Live and Kicking.

The BBC has struggled to win back young fans, despite relaunching under the title The Saturday Show and bringing in Dani Behr as host.

Ratings for SM:tv have dipped since the December departure of Ant and Dec, who went on to front Pop Idol, but it is still winning the war over The Saturday Show.

James Redmond
Redmond played Finn in Hollyoaks
SM:tv draws in audiences of up to 1.7m, while The Saturday Show has struggled to him the one million mark and usually averages 800,000.

However, the gap has been narrowing in recent weeks.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We are secretly quite pleased about this. It's another blow for SM:tv, along with the drop in audience figures."

Redmond's departure mirrors that of former model Twiggy Lawson, who was dropped from ITV1's daytime programme This Morning just one month after joining the show.

She had been criticised by viewers for having a "wooden" style after taking over from previous presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan at the start of last September.

See also:

30 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Cat Deeley to leave SM:tv
03 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Cat takes Bafta TV cream
03 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Ant and Dec finish on high
01 Dec 01 | Reviews
Ant and Dec: Your views
01 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Ant and Dec's tearful finale
23 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Behr challenges Ant and Dec
12 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Children's favourites honoured
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