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C4 fends off ITV with £4m Edmonds sweetener

LONDON - Channel 4 is said to be close to signing a multimillion-pound contract with Noel Edmonds as rival broadcaster ITV tries to poach the 'Deal or No Deal' presenter.

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According to reports in The Sun today, Channel 4 is keen to ink a £4m deal with Edmonds before his current contract expires at the end of the next year. Media reports suggest the new deal could run up to four years. 

It is understood that the channel wants to finalise the deal quickly because ITV has been "aggressively pursuing" Edmonds.

Channel 4 is expected to sign a similar agreement with 'Deal or No Deal' producers Endemol, which also make the broadcaster's ratings juggernaut 'Big Brother'.

Edmonds has become a surprise asset for Channel 4 and is credited with rejuvenating its daytime schedule as the face of the quiz show. Launched in November 2005, the show regularly attracts 4m viewers to the 4.15pm slot.

Channel 4 is said to spend up to one-sixth of its annual £500m programming budget on Endemol programmes.

Last month, Channel 4 locked down another three series of 'Big Brother' and an undisclosed number of 'Celebrity Big Brother' series at an estimated cost of around £40m a year.

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