Jeremy Clarkson DENIES he has been sacked as Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? host
Jeremy Clarkson has denied he has been axed as the host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? after ITV earlier confirmed there ‘are no further commissioning commitments’ to the presenter.
It was earlier reported Clarkson had been sacked by the network following his highly controversial newspaper column about Meghan Markle, and betting companies are already eyeing up celebrities such as Warwick Davis to replace him.
More than 10 television personalities are currently in the running to take to the chair, according to the latest odds from William Hill.
But Clarkson took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to deny the claims, writing: ‘I have not been sacked as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.’
The former Top Gear host sparked a backlash after fantasising in a newspaper column about the Duchess of Sussex being paraded through the streets naked while people threw ‘excrement’ at her, in an apparent reference to a public shaming scene from the fantasy TV series Game of Thrones.
Jeremy Clarkson has been axed as the host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, ITV confirmed today, following the presenter’s highly controversial Meghan column
Harry Potter actor Warwick Davis, who has previously hosted TV shows such as Tenable, is one of the front runners to takeover as host of the quiz show
It prompted the Press watchdog IPSO to investigate the column and sparked speculation that Clarkson’s hit shows on Amazon Prime had been pulled after bosses at the streaming service were reportedly left ‘incandescent’.
His fans then feared he was being ‘cancelled’ after ITV failed to confirm whether or not he would continue as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
ITV boss Carolyn McCall – whom Piers Morgan previously claimed forced him out of Good Morning Britain – seemed to confirm that Clarkson will not continue in his post beyond the next series, which has already been recorded.
‘We have a contract. We’re contracted to this [season], so we will do that,’ said Ms McCall to Variety magazine, adding: ‘And then we have no future commitments.’
Speaking of Clarkson’s column about Meghan, she added: ‘We don’t endorse that in any way… there’s no place for that on ITV.’
An ITV spokesperson told MailOnline earlier today: ‘As we have said before, ITV has a further series of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? contractually commissioned (which has now recorded), and no further commissioning commitments beyond that currently.’
But the network later issued a revised statement, which said: ‘As we have said for several weeks, ITV is contractually committed to a further series of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (which has now been recorded.)
‘There are no further commissioning commitments beyond that currently as is typical with such shows where we make commissioning decisions on a series by series basis.
‘Therefore for the avoidance of doubt neither Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? nor Jeremy Clarkson have been cancelled.’
Clarkson tweeted shortly afterwards: ‘So many kind messages about today’s reports. But relax. Lisa and I have not split up and I have not been sacked as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.’
Despite the updated statement, betting companies are already offering odds on the frontrunners to replace Clarkson on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?.
ITV boss Carolyn McCall, who forced Piers Morgan out, has now effectively confirmed that Clarkson will not continue in his post
Clarkson wrote in The Sun in December that he ‘hated’ the Duchess of Sussex (pictured with Prince Harry) and wanted to see her paraded through the streets naked while people threw ‘excrement’ at her
Jeremy Clarkson’s hit farming show will return for a third season, the former Top Gear co-host revealed last month. Pictured: Clarkson at Diddly Squat farm
William Hill has placed Harry Potter actor Warwick Davis, Only Connect host Victoria Coren Mitchell, as well as comedians Susan Calman and Sandi Toksvig.
All four have odds of 8/1, while Good Morning Britain’s Ben Shephard has odds of 9/1 and former Pointless host Richard Osman 10/1.
Pointless’ Alexander Armstong, beloved TV personality Rylan Clark, former Countdown host Anne Robinson and The Chase’s Bradley Walsh all have odds of 12/1, while Jimmy Carr follows on odds of 14/1, Metro reports.
Fans of Clarkson rallied to his defence this afternoon after it was widely reported he had been sacked from the role.
One fan said it would be the ‘death nail’ for the programme, adding: ‘Simply look at the fate of Top Gear after Jeremy Clarkson left.’
A second added: ‘Jeremy Clarkson has been on the receiving end of a stupid and ridiculous woke witch trial.
‘He deserved better ITV, but in all fairness, it’s your loss.’
Others described the controversial presenter as a ‘national treasure’.
Susan Calman (left) and Sandi Toksvig (right) have both been touted by betting companies as contenders to take over as presenter on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
Fans of Jeremy Clarkson today took to social media to support the presenter after it was reported he had been sacked by ITV
In a letter to MP John Nicolson in January, ITV boss Ms McCall, 61, said Clarkson’s views were ‘in no way endorsed by ITV’, adding that his role as host of the show ‘does not provide a platform for his opinions’.
Ms McCall wrote to Mr Nicolson in response to correspondence he sent asking if Clarkson’s comments went against ITV’s Statement of Programme Policy and Social Purpose Strategy.
In the response at the time, which was published by the entertainment website Deadline, she did not say whether he would lose his job, but said concerns about his comments were ‘completely understandable’.
She said: ‘ITV has no editorial control over Jeremy Clarkson’s independent journalistic output in The Sun or anywhere else he chooses to publish.
‘Everyone at ITV is very aware of our responsibilities as a Public Service Broadcaster and I’d like to be clear that the comments made were Jeremy Clarkson’s own and are in no way endorsed by ITV.
‘There is no place on ITV for the comments made in that article.’
She added that he was not an ITV employee and his role as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? does not ‘give him a platform for his opinions’.
A few weeks after the letter was published, it was reported that a special celebrity episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was shelved after three female stars refused to work alongside Clarkson.
The official line from ITV was reportedly that ‘scheduling issues’ delayed production of the highly anticipated special, but The Mirror reported behind the scenes chaos prompted the decision.
A source said: ‘The feelings were made very loud, and very clear. Namely that they didn’t want to share a platform with Clarkson and, in doing so, risk being seen to legitimise his misogynistic comments.
‘They were appearing on the show to raise money for charity, and they were acutely aware that they didn’t want causes special to their heart to be caught up in any backlash. It was a no-brainer to be honest, they had to walk away.’
The women – all household names – reportedly hoped to avoid being associated with the star.
The decision to delay filming of the special was first reported by the Daily Mail’s Alison Boshoff last month. Then, ITV had also put the decision down to scheduling conflicts.
The studio, crew and celebrities were all booked to attend the Dock 10 studio in Manchester and arrangements for the programmes were finalised.
An email said: ‘Owing to some movement in the ITV schedules, we’re now unable to record the planned Celebrity specials until later this year.’
Clarkson’s standard edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? was scheduled to begin filming last month – a contractual obligation on behalf of the network, which it says it has now completed.
Clarkson told a fan who asked whether a third season was in the works that ‘there is one’
While he may not be continuing on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, there is good news for fans of Clarkson’s Farm, as the star confirmed in February that there will be a third series – despite fears that it had been axed by Amazon Prime
But ITV bosses have now effectively said this will be Clarkson’s last, as they have no ‘commitment’ to further editions with him as the host.
Clarkson is thought to have been paid about £3million a year to present the hit quiz show, having taken over from Chris Tarrant in 2018.
While he may not be continuing on the show, there is good news for fans of Clarkson’s Farm as the star confirmed in February that there will be a third series – despite fears that it had been axed by Amazon Prime.
Clarkson received glowing reviews on social media after the new season came out last month, as well as massive queues outside his newly reopened Diddly Squat farm shop in Chadlington, West Oxfordshire.
Binge-watching fans of the show took to social media to demand another season after viewing the second series in one weekend.
Clarkson told a fan who asked if a third season was in the works that ‘there is one’.
Last month, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) said it was beginning an investigation into Clarkson’s Sun column about Meghan after it received more than 25,100 complaints.
Clarkson and The Sun both apologised and the piece was later removed from the newspaper’s website. He also said his language was ‘disgraceful’ and he was ‘profoundly sorry’.
The second series of his farm show follows another year on the farm with new animals and crops as well as Clarkson’s dealings with the local council.
Clarkson, who bought the farm in 2008 and started running it himself in 2019, received a poor reaction from some villagers when he expanded the business to include a farm shop and restaurant.
He previously said there were ‘plenty’ of other locals who appeared to be more receptive and encouraging.
He appealed against an order to close the restaurant last year after two planning applications were rejected by West Oxfordshire District Council.
Prince Harry branded the article about his wife Meghan ‘horrific, hurtful and cruel’
Jeremy Clarkson says he emailed Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Christmas Day to apologise
He subsequently said he ‘no longer wished’ for a restaurant and wanted to develop on-site parking in a letter to the council in January.
Meanwhile, Clarkson also co-hosts The Grand Tour TV series on Amazon Prime with his former Top Gear co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May.
Specials of the series are set to be released on the streaming service until the end of 2024. However Variety previously reported that the show would not continue beyond next year.
In January, Clarkson revealed he had emailed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to apologise for his controversial column.
He wrote on Instagram: ‘Usually, I read what I’ve written to someone else before filing, but I was home alone on that fateful day, and in a hurry. So when I’d finished, I just pressed Send. And then, when the column appeared the next day, the landmine exploded.
‘I therefore wrote to everyone who works with me saying how sorry I was and then, on Christmas morning, I e-mailed Harry and Meghan in California to apologise to them too.
‘I said I was baffled by what they had been saying on TV but that the language I’d used in my column was disgraceful and that I was profoundly sorry.
‘Over the last 30 years, I have written very nearly 5,000 newspaper and magazine columns, so it was inevitable that, one day, I’d do a Harry Kane and sky one of the damn things. Which is what happened with the piece about Meghan.’
Clarkson admitted he ‘felt sick’ when he read his column for the first time and thinks he made the situation worse for himself for failing to add context to his remarks, which referenced a scene from Game of Thrones.
MailOnline has contacted a representative for Clarkson for comment.