U.K.: No HD Money Prompts Walkout Decision by Talker

Last-minute extra funding was reportedly to be earmarked for a new set and some HD equipment for the program.
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Paul O'Grady, a “chat host” that appeared headed for BSkyB, a satellite competitor of his current outlet, Channel 4, is not looking for another suitor — and HD is the stated reason for his latest move (or lack, thereof).

O’Grady said he’s decided not to move his popular talk show to Sky (at least not just yet) after the DBS firm owned by Rupert Murdoch apparently refused the host’s demands for the British equivalent of about $1.78 million to his proposed budget after a few British-based Web sites said the host learned his show would be aired in HD. The last-minute extra funding was reportedly to be earmarked for a new set and some HD equipment for the program, which would have been aired on Sky on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The misunderstanding arose after Sky said it thought any monetary deal made with the talk host automatically included the provision that the show would be produced in HD — something the O’Grady party said was not fully made clear during negotiations.

If Sky is out for good, as well as discarded Channel 4, London media were speculating that would seem to leave only the BBC and ITV as the two most likely possible candidates for a new home for the talker.

His show on Channel 4 is likely to remain on-air (in SD, at least) through the end of 2009. O’Grady and his on-air partner/pooch, Buster, have been griping about their Channel 4 contract for much of this calendar year, although only recently has the HD angle reared its head.