In a sensational development today high-trousered media mogul and pop Svengali, Simon Cowell, moved to silence critics over the falling ratings of his ailing Britain's Got Talent TV show.
Speaking from his luxurious barn conversion in leafy Surrey he told the press:
"OK so I goofed. Shoot me why don't you? I felt that the format of the show was safe and figured that I could leave the early stages to three numpties, but I was wrong. I swapped Morgan for the Hoff. But on paper it looked good didn't it? One talentless and pretty comprehensively despised oafish clown for another. Like what's the big deal? And strategically I left Holden in-place. No-brainer that one really. She's suitably bland with no real discernible talent and just about tolerated I suppose. So that can't be the problem. No, I think that my big boo-boo, undoubtedly, was thinking Michael McIntyre could hold a candle to me and my brilliance. I concede it was a massive blunder and I'll be announcing something soon to rectify that and to restore the natural order of the show once more."
Cowell's outburst has seen fears growing for the future of Michael McIntyre's involvement with the show. And ITV executives are starting to mention his name in the same breath as those of Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakely.
The head-nodding-fast-talking funnyman was unavailable for comment last night, but a source close to the troubled star told reporters that McIntyre's seen ups and downs in his career before, and if his judge's job goes then he can go back on the boards again. He went on to fan the flames of numerous unconfirmed reports, suggesting that the beleaguered comic's name is in the frame as compere for a revamped version of BBC's once much-loved Saturday night blockbuster, Seaside Special.