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Jonathan Ross leaves BBC

Jonathan Ross is to leave the BBC in July. As well as his TV chat show and role as the latter day Barry Norman he’s walking out on his popular Radio 2 Saturday morning show.

Though still the BBC’s highest paid star, Ross has seen his star wane after reports of his exorbitant salary were leaked and he and Russell Brand were censured over Sachsgate.

The latter seems to have taken its toll, with Ross being coerced into pre-recording his radio show since the Andrew Sachs story broke; an anathema for a live performer like Ross. Alongside Wogan's decision to fall on his sword at Radio 2, the Corporation must be reeling while commercial radio rubs its hands with glee.

In a statement, Ross said that he would step down from his regular BBC roles, but still host the Baftas and work on other specials.

He said: "Over the last two weeks I have decided not to re-negotiate when my current contract comes to an end. 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."

In response, Jana Bennett, Director, BBC Vision, said: "Jonathan Ross has told us that he's decided not to pursue the renewal of his contract with the BBC.

"Jonathan is an extremely talented broadcaster and his programmes 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.

"I'm pleased that Jonathan will continue to apply his considerable abilities to the remaining six months of Friday Night, Film 2010 and his Radio 2 show, and I'm delighted that he will continue to present the BAFTA awards and Comic Relief for BBC Television."

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