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The Diary: Finn is new Ant 'n' Dec.

Byline: Ian Hyland

HOLLYOAKS heart-throb James Redmond is quitting the show to be a telly presenter.

Former model James, 28, who plays Finn in the Channel 4 soap, has just landed the dream job of taking over from Ant'n'Dec on their smash-hit Saturday morning kids show SM:TV.

The Geordie presenters - real names Antony McPartlin and Declan Donelly - are moving on after two years because ITV boss David Liddiment wants them to headline his evening line-up instead.

SMTV chiefs acted swiftly to bring in James who's become a cult figure among the Channel 4 soaps 4 million teen followers.

James, who dates his Hollyoaks co-star Elize De Toit in real life, is planning to leave the soap at the end of this year ready to take over from Ant'n'Dec next January.

He's been playing cheeky chancer Rory "Finn' Finnigan", who raised eyebrows when he married his best mate's mum, for the last three years.

SMTV are planning to team him up with Cat Deeley - who is understood to be carrying on with the show once her two Geordie pals have gone.

It's not known whether they will bring in another new presenter but a shake-up of the show is planned to counter BBC1's replacement for Live & Kicking.

The Beeb are paying Dani Behr pounds 200,000 a year to try and claw back the audience they lost to Ant'n'Dec.

SMTV regularly attracts 2 million viewers while L&K struggled to hit the million mark.
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 2, 2001
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