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Simon Cowell urges ITV to offer Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly lifetime contracts


‘I’d sign them up forever’: Simon Cowell urges ITV to offer Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly lifetime contracts as they consider new three year £30million deal

Simon Cowell has urged ITV to sign presenting duo Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly to lifetime contracts as they enter talks to extend their stay with the broadcasting giant. 

The popular pair are believed to be considering a mammoth £30million golden handcuffs deal that would tie them to ITV for three additional years beyond the remaining 12-months on their current contract. 

And Cowell, who has worked with the presenters for more than two decades on shows including Pop Idol and Britain’s Got Talent, believes they are too good to lose to a rival channel. 

Big fan: Simon Cowell has urged ITV to sign presenting duo Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly to lifetime contracts as they enter talks to extend their stay with the broadcaster

Big fan: Simon Cowell has urged ITV to sign presenting duo Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly to lifetime contracts as they enter talks to extend their stay with the broadcaster

He told The Mirror: ‘I’d sign them up for ever. Ant and Dec are the best. There’s no question. There’s nobody like them.

‘I’ve known them now for over 20 years. They really are fun, but their brilliance is understanding the audience of the show. They really relate to the audience and they haven’t changed at all. They’re very nice people.’

‘And, importantly, they love the acts. If I was running ITV, I wouldn’t think twice about it.’ 

Colleagues: Cowell, who has worked with the presenters for more than two decades on shows including Pop Idol and Britain's Got Talent (pictured)

Colleagues: Cowell, who has worked with the presenters for more than two decades on shows including Pop Idol and Britain’s Got Talent (pictured)

As well as long-running talent show BGT, the pair also host ITV staples Limitless Win, Saturday Night Takeaway and legendary endurance based series I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

Previously hosting roles include Pop Idol, Red Or Black? and the notorious Saturday morning children’s show SM:TV, which they presented  alongside Cat Deeley.  

Speaking to The Sun, an insider said: ‘[the new deal] would see them through to their 50th birthdays as two of the best-paid stars on television. They both still seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to making programmes. 

‘Keeping them on board is a shrewd move for ITV, who view them as their two biggest stars – with no sign that’s going to change in the near future.’ 

Popular: As well as long-running talent show BGT, the pair also host ITV staple I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! (pictured on the show in 2004)

Popular: As well as long-running talent show BGT, the pair also host ITV staple I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! (pictured on the show in 2004)

Old times: Their presenting careers took off when they hosted the popular Saturday kids show SM:TV with Cat Deeley (pictured in 2001)

Old times: Their presenting careers took off when they hosted the popular Saturday kids show SM:TV with Cat Deeley (pictured in 2001)

The source also added that ITV executives are conscious of the ongoing ‘fierce’ competition in television and ‘big streamers’ with ‘deep pockets.’ 

Ant and Dec recently won the Best Entertainment Show gong for Saturday Night Takeaway at this year’s BAFTA Television Awards held at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Presented by Olivia Colman – the Geordie duo were delighted to scoop the first award of the night, which marked the fourth time they have won in the category and the eighth time they have been nominated in it.

The awards recognised and celebrated the very best in television craft and television programmes broadcast in the UK in 2021 and the event was back to having a full live audience after the pandemic.

Triumph: Ant and Dec recently won the Best Entertainment Show gong for Saturday Night Takeaway at this year's BAFTA Television Awards held at London's Royal Festival Hall

Triumph: Ant and Dec recently won the Best Entertainment Show gong for Saturday Night Takeaway at this year’s BAFTA Television Awards held at London’s Royal Festival Hall 

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