|The decision by Ant McPartlin’s people to reveal his new relationship with his PA in the Sun on Sunday hasn’t quite gone to plan. What was obviously intended to be a story about Ant’s growing stability and recovery has turned into a public slanging match across the tabloids with his understandably miffed wife.
So why stick their neck out with this high-risk strategy?
The clue’s in the last paragraph of the Sun piece: “Everyone knows he has ruled out TV work for now, but there’s a possibility after summer he could decide to return to I’m A Celeb. That’s how far things have changed, all thanks to Anne-Marie.”
The implication that Ant’s problems could all be solved with the love of a good woman is clearly horseshit – but ITV execs don’t have much choice but to run with it.
They’ve relied so heavily on Ant and Dec to prop up their primetime programming for the last 20 years, that they have failed to foster much new, next-generation talent to take their place. It’s no exaggeration to say that ITV’s share price depends on Ant making a successful return to TV – so they’re trying to find any way they can to make it happen sooner rather than later.
We all saw what unfolded last time they brought him back to our screens. Let’s just hope that things don’t get any darker this time around.