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Thursday, 2 December, 1999, 18:40 GMT
Skinner switches to ITV
Changing sides: ITV will show three series of The Frank Skinner Show

Comedian Frank Skinner - who fell out with the BBC earlier this year - has signed a deal to bring his chat show to ITV.

The 42-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the network, three months after the BBC broke off negotiations with him and his management company Avalon following reported demands of a 20m deal.

Avalon and ITV are refusing to comment on the size of the new deal, but Skinner joked: "I am absolutely chuffed. There's no money involved - the deal is I sign, they bring back Crossroads."

Skinner's show started on BBC One in 1996 and by this year the mixture of comedy, chat and music had gained over 10 million viewers.

David Baddiel with Skinner: Fantasy Football moved to ITV in 1998
Guests included Tony Blair, Lennox Lewis and Spice Girl Mel C. An interview with socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson became notorious when he ridiculed her shortly before she checked into a rehabilitation clinic.

But his relationship with the corporation turned sour when director of television Alan Yentob walked out of negotiations with Avalon, saying he could not a go along with the company's "unreasonable tactics and financial terms".

Now, ITV director of programmes David Liddiment said: "Frank Skinner is one of the most talented comedy stars of his generation. His style is both distinctive and accessible - perfect for ITV programming."

"I am personally delighted because I've always been a fan of Frank's work," he added.

Avalon Television's Jon Thoday said: "We are delighted to be given the opportunity to continue producing this successful show on mainstream TV and to renew a successful relationship built with ITV and David Liddiment that began with Fantasy World Cup."

When he was head of light entertainment at the BBC, Liddiment signed up Skinner on an exclusive deal with the corporation.

When Liddiment moved to ITV, Skinner moved with him, when the network paid him and David Baddiel 3m to bring their Fantasy Football League show over from BBC Two for the 1998 World Cup.

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See also:
02 Sep 99 |  Entertainment
Mad about the boys
02 Sep 99 |  Entertainment
BBC rejects Skinner's 'ridiculous' demands

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