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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Evans' game show given chop
Boys and Girls
Vernon Kay presented Boys and Girls
Chris Evans' comeback TV show Boys and Girls has been axed by Channel 4 after disappointing ratings.

The channel has also announced that, despite the current success of Big Brother, there will be no more celebrity versions of the reality show.

But it also revealed that Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan have signed a new contract to continue their daytime show.

Game show Boys and Girls was Evans' first major project since 2001, when he was sacked as presenter on Virgin Radio.

Once the golden boy of the British media, he produced the show, which was hosted by Vernon Kay.

But it was not a hit with the public and was shunted from a prime-time slot. The final instalment of the first series in May attracted 1.1 million viewers.

Anne Diamond on Celebrity Big Brother
Celebrity Big Brother revived the careers of some faded stars
"That one will not be back," Channel 4 chief executive Mark Thompson said.

"It was certainly an experiment to do something big and different on a Saturday night which didn't get the kind of audience we would have liked."

Evans will continue to produce the Live With... and Terry and Gaby shows for Five, formerly Channel 5.

Mr Thompson also said Big Brother worked well, but the celebrity version did not.

"The reason I like Big Brother each year is because it is interesting each year - because of the different people you get in the house," he said.

"But it's the new group of people that's interesting, and I'm sceptical how different and interesting you can make Celebrity Big Brother."

Celebrity Wife Swap

Comedian Jack Dee and singer Mark Owen won each of the two series of Celebrity Big Brother.

A celebrity version of Wife Swap will go ahead, featuring Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? cheats Major Charles and Diana Ingram and former Big Brother star Jade Goody and her boyfriend.

"I think we can put Jade and the major into the box marked harmless fun," Mr Thompson said.

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan
Richard and Judy have pulled in as many as 2.6 million viewers
Madeley and Finnigan, whose early evening show was rumoured to be under threat, have signed to present their show until the end of 2004.

They recently celebrated the 300th episode of their series, which started on Channel 4 in November 2001 after they left ITV1's This Morning.

Madeley said: "Moving to a new channel and an incredible 5pm slot has been the hardest thing we've done in our careers.

"Now the show is a success and it's great that Channel 4 has recognised that."

Confidence growth

Their average audience in 2002 was 1.7 million, but this year it has gone up to two million. Their record audience was 2.6m in February 2003.

Mr Thompson said: "Richard and Judy is working extremely well. I think it's a programme that has grown enormously in confidence."

There is a renewal clause in the contract to extend it beyond 2004.

Recent stars on the show have included George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio, Jennifer Lopez and Robert de Niro.

Channel 4 is also launching a search to find a star for a major Bollywood movie to follow the success of its hunt for an unknown opera singer in Operatunity.

Bollywood Princess will see the station scour Britain for a young Asian woman who will win a role in the film.

Operatunity became a surprise hit when it was screened earlier this year.

Aspiring singers were plucked from obscurity to win the chance to perform with a professional opera company.

New timeslot for Boys and Girls
26 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Boys and Girls come out to pay
02 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Ratings blow for Boys and Girls
03 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Celebrity Big Brother sweeps ratings
30 Nov 02  |  Entertainment
Richard and Judy defend show
22 Apr 02  |  Entertainment
Richard and Judy ride the storm
16 Aug 02  |  Entertainment

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