There is light at the end of the tunnel in the stand-off between ITV and dumped Daybreak duo Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles.
Last night ITV bosses were said to be close to settling with the pair – after previously threatening a two-year career blackout.
Christine and Adrian’s management had demanded a full payout, in line with their contract, worth £2million each after the duo were axed from Daybreak just a year into their three-year deal.
But during heated discussions, ITV chiefs warned they could axe them from other shows if a compromise was not reached.
That would have meant shifting Adrian, 44, off Champions League football and his talk series, That Sunday Night Show, plus dropping Christine, 32, from her upcoming presenting role on Dancing on Ice.
Since we revealed the double sacking last weekend, ITV chiefs have been locked in talks with the pair’s management at Avalon in a bid to save paying them huge sums to sit at home until the end of 2013. One insider said: “There have been some heated behind-the-scenes discussions. If their agent thought he could hold the channel to ransom then he’s found that ITV actually holds the trump card. It has been quite fraught.”
Adrian and Christine will leave Daybreak in the New Year, or as soon as replacements are found, after being axed amid poor ratings. This week they appeared together only once on Daybreak. Yesterday, Christine was at the launch of Christmas charity show Text Santa, while Chiles flew to the US. ITV has denied threatening to take the couple off air.
A spokesman said: “Adrian and Christine are key members of the ITV family going forward. And we have an important, long-term relationship with them which we are expanding.”