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Five considers hiring John Leslie for new show

LONDON – After his trial ordeal John Leslie could make a comeback on terrestrial station Five after chief executive Jane Lighting said she would consider the move.

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Lighting, who has only recently arrived moved to Five from Flextech, said she would consider Leslie "if the right programme came up".

There would be a huge amount of irony in Leslie making a move to Five, as it was the channel that named him originally and started his nine month ordeal, which finally came to an end last week.

Leslie was named on Five's morning show 'The Wright Stuff' by host Matthew Wright in relation to a rape allegation in Ulrika Jonsson's autobiography. It emerged earlier this week that Princess Productions, the TV production company that is behind Wright's morning chat show, was talking to Leslie's team at Taylor Herring PR, which also represents Wright.

There was speculation that Princess Productions began talks in an effort to stave off legal action from Leslie, who was last week cleared of any charges after the key witness in the trial came forward with "unforeseeable" new information.

Leslie is thought to be considering legal action against a "hit list" of media firms, which could include Five, the Evening Standard, which printed Leslie's name immediately after he was named by Wright, and Granada Television, which is said to have sacked him from 'This Morning' over the allegations.

However, Lighting said that the possibility of hiring Leslie had nothing to do with the threat of legal action.

"I don't see these two things are related. I think the legal side and the commissioning side are different. If there is a good show then we will look at it," she said.

Leslie's version of events has been spread across the national press this week as he hit back at Jonsson, who wrote about a rape ordeal in her book.

She never named the man responsible even after Leslie was linked to the story. She later refused to deny that Leslie was the man concerned and has now had to suffer an onslaught of details about her relationship with Leslie.

Last week it was reported that Leslie was in talks with Sky about a £1m TV deal, but the negotiations are understood to have collapsed at the end of last week.

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