Ant and Dec almost didn't host SM:TV Live after turning down job offer twice

Things could have been a lot different for Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly after they turned down hosting SM:TV Live twice.

Yes, seriously.

Initially, Ant and Dec pitched the idea of a one-hour music show called CD:UK, although despite ITV turning it down at the time, they did have another proposition for them.

Speaking on ITV’s The Story Of SMTV Live, Ant began: ‘They pitched the idea back to us and said “Could you do this on a Saturday morning, but do it for three hours.’

‘You’re in your 20s, you’re out of work right, you’ve got no prospects and ITV say to you “How about doing three hours every Saturday morning, not just for 28 weeks a year, but for 52 of of the year?”‘ Ant continued.

‘And we just went, “No.’

‘Looking back now, the arrogance, would you call it arrogance?’ he asked Dec.

‘Stupidity, just stupidity,’ Dec chipped in.

‘We were like, we’ll do the music show, but we’re not doing the kids stuff, cartoons and all that,’ Dec explained.

Ant added: ‘They said to us, “This is where you learn your craft, there is nowhere else where you can learn live television where you can learn to be a presenter” and we were went “Nahhh” and we turned it down again.’

When they did take on the job with pal Cat Deeley, ratings for the show weren’t what they had hoped and so they feared for their careers.

‘We are the presenters we are today because of that show. We learned how to do it there – and there’s no better breeding ground than Saturday morning television,’ Ant said.

‘People were putting pressure on ITV. Other production companies were saying, “Look, they’re not doing it ratings-wise, it’s not great. You should replace it with one of our shows.”

‘But it wasn’t great for the first couple of months. There was no atmosphere. We got it wrong initially.’

The pair recognised that something had to change or the show was at risk of being axed and so they decided to spice things up a bit.

Dec added: ‘It had been going fairly badly for a long enough time that people were starting to ask questions. “Should this show be on air?”

‘I thought, “If they pull this I’m gonna lose my house. I’ll have to go back to Newcastle and live with my parents again”. We were like, “Oh boy, this is bad!”‘

Luckily for them, the show was a huge success and paved the way for future careers.

The Story of SM:TV Live is available to watch on the ITV hub.

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