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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
ITV denies Blind Date rumours
Cilla Black on Blind Date
Cilla Black has hosted Blind Date since it began
Blind Date's producers have denied reports that daytime TV host Trisha Goddard was being lined up to replace Cilla Black as the long-running show's presenter.

Black's two-year exclusive contract with Granada and ITV, worth 4m, finishes at the end of the year, and it is thought that network bosses want to rethink her role.

Reports have suggested ITV is considering using her to host special events rather than continuing to host Blind Date.

Paul Jackson, head of entertainment at the show's production company Granada, said Goddard had not even been approached about fronting the ITV1 show.

"The only person in this organisation who is empowered to do that is me and I can categorically say I have not had any conversations with her," said Mr Jackson.

Nobody else could present Blind Date... there is only Cilla and she is Blind Date

Blind Date spokeswoman

Goddard also hosts daytime talk show Trisha, which made by Granada subsidary Anglia.

Black, who is currently on holiday, has already shot the first half of the next series of Blind Date and will film the remainder on her return.

A Blind Date spokeswoman said that there were no plans for her to be replaced.

"Cilla is ITV1's premier female artist," she told BBC News Online. "Cilla is queen of Blind Date and Saturday night."
Trisha Goddard
Trisha is one of ITV1's most popular daytime presenters

"Nobody else could present Blind Date. There is only Cilla and she is Blind Date."

The show, made by another Granada subsidary, LWT, was first broadcast 18 years ago.

It regularly attracts audiences of more than six million - though in its heyday, in the 1980s, it was watched by up to 14 million viewers.

Black, one of the nation's most popular TV hosts, will celebrate 40 years in showbusiness next year.

See also:

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