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Jonathan Ross leaving the BBC

Jan. 7, 2010 at 11:43 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- British television and radio star Jonathan Ross has announced he will leave the BBC when his contract expires in June.

Ross made headlines in 2008 when he and comedian Russell Brand left sexually explicit phone messages on actor Andrew Sachs's voice mail in an on-air prank.

A media firestorm ensued with Brand quitting his radio show and Ross publicly apologizing for the stunt, then staying off the air as part of a 90-day suspension.

"Although I have had a wonderful time working for the BBC and am very proud of the shows I have made while there, over the last two weeks I have decided not to renegotiate when my current contract comes to an end," the Times Online quoted Ross as saying. "(I) am grateful to the BBC for such a marvelous experience. I would like to make it perfectly clear that no negotiations ever took place and that my decision is not financially motivated. ... I signed my current contract with the BBC having turned down more lucrative offers from other channels because it was where I wanted to be and -- as I have said before -- would happily have stayed there for any fee they cared to offer, but there were other considerations."

The Times said Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, alluded to Ross's suspension and the public backlash his prank caused when discussing his decision to leave the company after nearly 13 years.

"Jonathan is an extremely talented broadcaster and his programs for BBC TV and Radio have been a great success. However, it's been a difficult year for him and I understand why he feels it's the right thing to do," Bennett said.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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