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Channel 4 admits it is after BBC's Ross and Norton

LONDON – Channel 4 has confirmed that it is in talks with Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton, whose BBC contracts expire soon.

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Kevin Lygo, the channel's head of TV, admitted yesterday that the two light entertainment stars were on his wishlist.

Ross fronts 'Film 2007' and has his own Friday night chatshow on BBC One and Saturday morning show on Radio 1, and his contract comes to an end next year.

It had been speculated last week that Ross was the target of Channel 4 and ITV. A move for Norton has been talked about for some time. ITV and Channel 4 were reported to be willing to offer Ross as much as £15m, outgunning the BBC's offer of £12.5m.

Norton could return to Channel 4 after leaving for a £3m two-and-a-half year exclusive deal with the BBC in April 2004. It initially took a year before he got on the screen and he has failed to make the impact expected, with flops including comic news discussion show 'Graham Norton: The Bigger Picture'.

However, he is currently presenting BBC One's 'Strictly Dance Fever' on Saturday nights and is to host a forthcoming reality talent show to find a singer to play the central character in 'The Sound of Music', called 'How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria'.

Norton made his name with Channel 4, particularly with his cheeky chat show 'V Graham Norton', as did Ross in the 1980s with 'The Last Resort'.

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