Beeb poaches Norton

Graham signed to revive Saturday nights

Graham Norton has signed an exclusive two-and-a-half-year deal to work on the BBC.

The comic will join the corporation once his Channel 4 contract expires in April.

His main task will be to revitalise BBC1's flagging Saturday-night schedules.

BBC1 controller Lorraine Heggessey, said: "We've made no secret of our admiration of Graham and I'm thrilled that he feels that BBC1 can offer him the space to grow creatively.

"I'm convinced he will delight viewers of all ages at the heart of the Saturday night schedule."

And entertainment executive Jane Lush added: "It's been my ambition to work with Graham ever since I took on the entertainment role and that's been no secret.

"We've spent a lot of time and effort wooing Graham to the BBC and I'm delighted that the deal we've put in place for him suits us both so well."

Norton's deal comes on the back of a deal to work with Comedy Central in the States, worth a reported seven-figure sum.

After Christmas, his five-nights-a-week chat show will go back to a weekly slot, recorded in America where he will be hoping to attract a higher grade of stars.

Published: 15 Dec 2003

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