Dermot O'Leary to host ITV's The Marriage Ref
X Factor presenter Dermot O'Leary has been announced as the host of The Marriage Ref, ITV1's new comedy panel show.
Based on an American format created by Jerry Seinfeld, the show features real-life couples who are very much in love, but have something quirky and ridiculous that they argue about. It is up to O'Leary and the panel of celebrities and comics to decide who's right and wrong in each domestic dispute - the husband or the wife.
Producers say: "No tiff is too absurd for the show - from a couple who bicker about the husband's desire to stuff and display his beloved dead pooch... to a wife who is fed up of her husband taking his wedding ring off every time he goes out with his mates. The show will be packed with laughs as Dermot and his guests discuss, debate and add their own personal take to each light-hearted and very funny tiff."
ITV have ordered seven episodes of the show from Zeppotron, the production company behind hit panel shows including Would I Lie To You? and 8 Out Of 10 Cats.
The Marriage Ref was piloted in January with Jo Brand as host, but Broadcast magazine reports that she has been replaced by X Factor anchor Dermot O'Leary as ITV wanted a more seasoned presenter. However, Brand is likely to still be involved in the show as a regular panellist. Other comedians expected to take part include Jack Dee and Sarah Millican.
The Sun reports that O'Leary will be paid £250,000 to host the show. The presenter told the paper's entertainment reporters: "It's a great show and the kind of thing I want to present because it's not your usual show. It's something I'd watch. I'd never do a gameshow. ITV have big plans for it, so fingers crossed."
ITV's The Marriage Ref is based on an American series that made its debut on NBC in February last year, where panellists included Ricky Gervais and Madonna. The show is hosted by comedian Tom Papa, with Jerry Seinfeld as one of the Executive Producers. Despite many negative reviews and declining ratings, the show was recommissioned and is due to return to NBC in June (NBC Website).
Producers are now looking for couples to take part in the ITV version (application form). The seven episodes, each an hour long, will be filmed in front of a live audience later in the year, and the show is expected to form part of ITV's autumn/winter schedule.
The comedy troupe So On & So Forth have been given their own BBC Radio 4 sketch show series.
Lee Evans, one of the UK's best known stand-up comedians, has unexpectedly announced that he is going to retire from comedy at the end of the month.
Paddy McGuinness is to return to comedy acting with a role in ITV's new sitcom series about midwifes, The Delivery Man.
Comedy Central has confirmed the commission of a new studio sitcom, I Live With Models.
The BBC has revealed its Magna Carta celebration season, to include new Horrible Histories, and new programmes from Rory Bremner, Kayvan Novak, and others.
UKTV has announced it is increasing its investment in original scripted comedy, with a commitment to make five new shows for Gold in 2015.