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Jonathan Ross Quits BBC As Highest-Paid Television Show Host

Jonathan Ross, one of Britain's highest-paid television stars, has announced he will be leaving the BBC.

Ross has been one of the biggest faces at the BBC, with his Friday night talk show, his Radio 2 program and his film review show. His last contract was said to have been worth 18 million over three years.

"Although I have had a wonderful time working for the BBC, and am very proud of the shows I have made while there, over the last two weeks I have decided not to re-negotiate when my current contract comes to an end," says Ross in a statement.

"While there I have worked with some of the nicest and most talented people in the industry and had the opportunity to interview some of the biggest stars in the world, and am grateful to the BBC for such a marvellous experience."

"I would like to make it perfectly clear that no negotiations ever took place and that my decision is not financially motivated."

"I signed my current contract with the BBC having turned down more lucrative offers from other channels because it was where I wanted to be and - as I have said before - would happily have stayed there for any fee they cared to offer, but there were other considerations."

"I love making my Friday night talk show, my Saturday morning radio show and the Film Programme, and will miss them all. I look forward to continuing work on these shows until the Summer, and I will continue hosting the Bafta Film Awards, Comic Relief and other BBC specials."

The statement comes a day after there was renewed speculation that the BBC may dump Ross and part ways with its star presenter.

Ross was embroiled in controversy last year after the broadcaster was fined 150,000 for 'offensive' comments he and co-host Russell Brand made about the granddaughter of actor Andrew Sachs.

The calls drew thousands of complaints and even prompted Brand to leave the show. The BBC has also been under pressure to reduce the salaries it gives top talent because it is a public broadcaster.

January 7, 2010 |

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