Jonathan Ross bows out as awards host

Comedian suspended after participating in lewd prank

LONDON -- Suspended BBC star Jonathan Ross has stepped down from presenting the British Comedy awards, his annual hosting gig for rival broadcaster ITV.

In a statement, Ross' agent said the presenter had taken the decision to step down from the awards given the fallout of the obscene calls scandal that has seen fellow presenter Russell Brand quit the BBC and forced the resignation of popular Radio 2 controller Leslie Douglas.

"It's a show he very much enjoys being part of but would not want his participation in this year's event to take away from the awards themselves or the many talented winners of the awards," Ross' spokesman said.

ITV director of television Peter Fincham said the decision had been made "with the full support of ITV and the show's producers."
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