ITV chiefs are reportedly planning to lure presenter Eamonn Holmes back to the channel – but it may well cost them around £4m to do so.
According to the Mirror the network is keen to have the Irish star back on its breakfast show Daybreak in a bid to boost its ratings.
However securing Eamonn’s services will involve buying him out of his contract with Sky News, where he currently fronts their breakfast show Sunrise.
Reports suggest it could cost ITV £2.4m to release him from that deal which is due to end in 2016 – with a potential £1.5m deal to front Daybreak on top of that sum.
Insiders have hinted that he could be given a formal offer to return to ITV soon.
“ITV have set out their stall for Eamonn, so he can pretty much name his price,” a source told the paper.
“He’s hoping to persuade them to hire his wife, Ruth Langsford, as his co-host but current thinking is that pairing Eamonn with a younger woman might be the best way to go.”
Eamonn previously lost out on the chance to present Daybreak in 2010 when Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley were appointed as hosts.
The pair were axed from the show less than a year later in the wake of disappointing ratings – but replacements Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones have done little to boost viewing figures.
Reports suggest Daybreak has ratings of around 700,000 compared to the 2m average who tune in to BBC Breakfast.
Eamonn – who currently fronts Friday’s edition of This Morning along with Ruth – spent 12 years as presenter of its predecessor GMTV before he quit in 2005.