Adrian Chiles is to be replaced as the host of ITV's football coverage by BBC Radio 5 live presenter Mark Pougatch, who will anchor the rest of this season's Champions League, Europa League and England coverage.
There is an element of intrigue to the announcement as ITV have refused to comment on the reasons behind the change, but Chiles has been stood down with immediate effect.
He is the latest big name casualty at the station, following fellow presenter Matt Smith and veteran co-commentator Andy Townsend out of the door. Roy Keane also quit his punditry duties on the eve of the World Cup.
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"Perhaps tellingly," says The Times, "Chiles was not mentioned at any point in the statement released by ITV this morning, which instead focused on Pougatch's elevation."
ITV also refused to comment on whether Chiles would continue to work with the station. The former BBC man joined ITV in a mammoth deal said to be worth millions per year in 2010. He was signed to present the station's football coverage and also front its new breakfast show, Daybreak, which was soon axed.
Although his everyman approach did not go down well in all quarters – there was a campaign to have him sacked after the World Cup – he remains "a broadcasting heavy hitter", says Mark Webster in the Daily Mail.
Webster belives Chiles performed well at the World Cup but says he should have left in the summer. In recent months he has been "trying too hard, being offbeat for offbeat's sake", he argues.
Others agree. "For a TV channel that is meant to be showing the best games football has to offer – Champions League, major international tournaments and, er, England – Chiles' happy-go-lucky charm just doesn't fit," says Jack de Menezes in The Independent.
His colleague, James Mariner, diagrees. Chiles "would say what those of us in the stands where thinking," he says. "Mark Pougatch is a first-class broadcaster and will no doubt fill Chiles' shows admirably, but I can't help feeling ITV have made their move too soon."
And, as the Daily Telegraph notes, Pougatch could be the big winner. "ITV will not have Champions League football next season but the move presents an intriguing prospect of Pougatch possibly hosting a Premier League Saturday evening highlights show from the 2016-17 season, should ITV outbid the BBC's Match of the Day for the rights."
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