ITV may be without their award-winning and much-loved double-act, Ant and Dec, for at least 12 months.
Ant McPartlin is facing a period in rehab as the star battles his addictions for prescription drugs and alcohol.
The news also means that his on-screen partner Declan Donnelly, for the first time in 23 years, may have to embark on a solo career.
McPartlin, commonly referred to as Ant, has reportedly been offered a sabbatical, according to the Daily Mail.
The news comes six months after ITV bosses agreed a three-year, £15m deal for the star.
Ant has received full support from the broadcaster and there is a possibility of a paid year of absence.
The 41-year-old is currently in a state-of-the-art rehab facility, reportedly costing £6,000-a-week.
Last night a television insider said:
It is all still too early to say for sure what will happen, but all anyone wants is for Ant to get well again.
He and Dec are the backbone of the ITV family.
Formally, Ant has no work commitments until November and obviously the hope is that he will be completely better by then, and able to fulfil them – but ITV will not rush him in any way, and the feeling is he must take as long as he needs.
A friend of the famous-duo yesterday insisted ‘no conversations’ about their careers had yet occurred, adding:
At the moment it is not an issue.
The Geordie television couple have no commitments lined up until November when ‘I’m A Celebrity’ makes a return.
McPartlin would have to be in Australia for filming, in a period before Christmas, with their ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ not resuming until February – the same as ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.
Ant is believed to have made a number of promises to his family, which includes not taking on any unnecessary projects while he recovers, with a friend saying:
Ant knows his health is the number one priority – he will be more selective about the things he says ‘yes’ to.
He loves his job, but doesn’t want to burn out again.
Ant’s shock announcement came at the weekend when he revealed in a statement to fans that he had been suffering with a number of problems.
Last night an ITV spokesman said:
We are sending Ant our very best wishes for a speedy recovery and, of course, he has our full support.
Our thoughts go out to Ant and his family during his recovery.
A sports enthusiast with a BA (Hons) in Sports Journalism, who can be found predominantly at Villa Park. Having completed a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, she then went on to work at Sky Sports, the BBC, and the Mirror. When not engrossed in sport, it’s animals, guitars, and Liam Gallagher which take main focus.