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ITV Top Gear rival ‘Drive’ axed after one series

ITV has axed Vernon Kay’s television show after it failed to bring in the sort of viewing figures enjoyed by Top Gear, according to a report in the Sun.

It was hoped Drive would become a Top Gear rival – a show watched by 5.6-million viewers – but the first series averaged just 1.5 million. The newspaper’s source claims 42-year-old Kay’s recent text scandal did little to help.

The ‘telly insider’ said: “Viewing figures have been appalling and Vernon hasn’t done any favours for the show following his sex text shame. Unsurprisingly, ITV aren’t bringing it back for a second run.”

Kay was caught sending flirty messages to 29-year-old page three beauty Rhian Sugden. Kay nearly lost his marriage with presenter Tess Daily after being caught sexting Sugden six years ago.

ITV hoped it could cut down on Kay’s screen time to boost viewing figures, according to the Sun, before making the decision to can it entirely.

Half a million viewers stopped watching the show since its launch in April 2016. It aired on 9pm on a Tuesday on ITV – a slot previously taken by fellow failed car show, Car Crash Britain: Caught on Camera.

Sugden took to Twitter to deny allegations the show’s lack of success was anything to do with her. “VK’s TV show Drive axed because of contact with me!!? It was axed because it was sh*te!”

Drive featured eight celebrities going up against each other in ‘an adrenaline charged race with a difference’, including ex-X Factor presenter Louis Walsh, rapper Professor Green and broadcaster Angus Deayton.

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