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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Norton sets his sights on US TV
Graham Norton
Norton's contract with Channel 4 ends next year
Comic Graham Norton has reportedly signed a deal with US TV to transfer his Channel 4 chat show across the Atlantic.

The Irish-born funnyman will make at least 13 episodes of his programme for cable channel Comedy Central.

He will also host a variety of special one-offs, the Hollywood Reporter said.

"It seemed a safer place to start in the US," said Norton, on a US tour. "I won't look as freakish there as I would have on the bigger networks."

Comedy Central, home of the South Park cartoon, beat NBC and ABC to sign Norton to a two-year deal which includes hosting duties on various specials, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

In the UK Norton's programmes - So Graham Norton and its later incarnation, V Graham Norton - have proved ratings hits and award winners.

He had already begun making a name for himself in the US on reruns of So on cable channel BBC America.

Contract talks

"We've been keeping our eyes on him for the past few years, and we felt it was time to bring him over," said Bill Hilary, executive vice-president and general manager of Comedy Central. "He's an extremely funny man."

Although So is rebroadcast in the US and other countries, the untitled Comedy Central project represents Norton's first original venture outside the UK.

A Channel 4 spokesman told BBC News Online: "Graham is contracted to us until next year and we are currently talking to him about the future."

Norton's programme will be Comedy Central's first hour-long series. Each episode will be produced during the week before it airs, in either New York or Los Angeles.

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