im a celeb

I'm a Celebrity lands new host! ITV confirm Ant McPartlin will be replaced

I'm a Celebrity to land a new host!

Sharnaz Shahid

It's official! Declan Donnelly will be joined by a new presenter in the upcoming series of I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!. The news comes weeks after both ITV and Ant McPartlin revealed he would not be presenting the popular reality TV show after extending his leave of absence into next year. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival this week, ITV boss Kevin Lygo made the announcement: "We collectively all thought let's give [Ant] a good amount of time off because these things are a slow procedure. He's not going to go to the jungle. Dec is and we will find someone to stand next to Dec."

Ant and Dec have hosted I'm A Celebrity ever since it began in 2002

When asked whether the team have picked the new presenter, Kevin joked: "Yes I have… it's Piers Morgan. It could be anybody. It could be Jeremy Corbyn." Over the past few months, the future of the TV double act has been the source of much speculation. In August, Ant confirmed that he won't return to television until 2019 so that he can focus on his recovery. "My recovery is going very well and for that to continue having spoken to Dec and ITV, I have made the decision to take the rest of the year off," he said in a statement. "I'd like to thank both Dec and ITV for their continued support and I look forward to getting back to work in the New Year."

MORE: What is Declan Donnelly's net worth and how much does he earn as a solo presenter?

Dec added: "Whilst I am obviously sad at the thought of being without my best friend in Australia this year, I am proud of the work Ant has been doing privately and I am fully supportive of his decision. I'm looking forward to us both being reunited on screen in 2019." The pair also confirmed that they wouldn't air Saturday Night Takeaway until Ant was back, with the statement reading: "Neither Ant & Dec nor ITV wanted to compromise the quality of the show and therefore felt it was better to rest the series next year. They will instead bring the show back in 2020, bigger and better than ever."

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At the festival, Kevin commented: "Takeaway, [Ant and Dec] actually do an enormous amount of work now…there's all the hidden camera stuff and it's a lot of work and it was very important for Ant not to really worry about doing any work." He added: "We just felt they were getting constrained and the time was getting cramped so we took the decision not to have it next year. But otherwise they will be back next year. But Dec’s going into the jungle. He will be doing it with somebody."

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