I'm a Celebrity... returns to ITV with 11.9m audience peak without Ant

Audience averaged 11 million, compared with 10.3 million last year.

Holly & Dec: Willoughby is co-presenting this year
Holly & Dec: Willoughby is co-presenting this year

ITV scored its biggest viewing figures this year outside the World Cup as I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! returned for its 18th series.

The game show attracted a 51% viewing share on 18 November as viewers tuned in to watch Holly Willoughby’s debut as Declan Donnelly’s co-presenter. 

Willoughby has replaced Ant McPartlin, one half of the Ant & Dec duo, who is taking time out to focus on his health after being admitted to rehabiliation in March.

I’m a Celebrity… yielded an 11.9 million audience peak, the highest-rating launch episode since 2013, and averaged 11 million – up from 10.3 million last year.

This year’s celebrity contestant line-up includes veteran football club manager Harry Redknapp, singer Fleur East and actor John Barrowman. 

The future of the show had been in doubt earlier this year following McPartlin’s arrest for drink-driving.

Ant & Dec decided not to present a new series of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, the duo’s other ITV primetime show, next year.

However, the pair are expected to reunite next year for I’m a Celebrity... and Saturday Night Takeaway in 2020.

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