Alison Hammond's For the Love of Dogs future 'uncertain' as ITV bosses 'disappointed'

Alison Hammond meets Duchess the French Bulldog who's struggling to breathe
Alison Hammond has presented one series of For the Love of Dogs -Credit:ITV

ITV bosses are reportedly unhappy with Alison Hammond's performance as the host of For The Love of Dogs and are considering replacing her.

Alison, 49, took over the role from the beloved late Paul O'Grady this series. Sources claim that the team behind the show are disappointed with her work as host.

As reported by the Mirror, sources say that the casting has not worked as they hoped and staff Battersea Dogs Home have been told that Alison's future in the role is uncertain. As a result of her performance, ITV executives are having discussions about the future of Hammond on the show after just one series.

A source said: "Everyone was very excited when Alison was confirmed to replace Paul. She had very big shoes to fill, but it was felt that with her warmth and bubbly personality. Unfortunately the casting has not worked out how the team behind the show hoped - and it has turned out to be a bit of a misfit."

"ITV are very disappointed because it's such a well-loved programme, and of course Alison is an ITV favourite too. But unfortunately sometimes in spite of everyone's best efforts, things just don't work out. Conversations are now ongoing about her future on the show within ITV and that has been communicated to Battersea. They are of course very passionate about the show, and want it to go on as long as possible."

Paul O’Grady with Gary a Bulldog bulldog who desperately needs an operation as he’s struggling to breathe.
Paul O'Grady, the beloved host of For the Love of Dogs, passed away in March 2023 -Credit:ITV

For the Love of Dogs, which first hit Tv screens in 2012, captured the nation's heart as it followed national treasure and dog enthusiast Paul O'Grady through the doors of Battersea to meet the dogs longing for a forever home. The show quickly became a ratings sensation and scooped the National Television Awards for Most Popular Factual Entertainment Programme in both 2019 and 2023.

Alison Hammond, who has taken the reins despite not owning any dogs herself, has faced a wave of online trolling since she stepped into the role. The controversy escalated when Claire-Louise Nixon, who runs the charity Wheels to Paws, claimed she was "scared" of dogs.

Alison addressed the backlash in a recent magazine interview, stating: "I was actually surprised with how much (criticism) I got for doing the show. I could understand in the sense that Paul was so loved, and people were saying: 'How can she do Love of Dogs when she doesn't have a dog? How does she love dogs when she doesn't have a dog.' It's like saying: 'How can you love children when you haven't got kids?"

Pictured: Alison Hammond at Battersea with Dougal the Bichon Freeze after his much needed haircut
Alison Hammond's role on For the Love of Dogs is 'under threat' -Credit:ITV

ITV dismissed rumours about discussions regarding Alison's future on the show. An ITV spokesperson clarified: "This new series is in the middle of its run and standard practice means no meaningful assessment of future plans would be made at this stage. Everyone's really pleased with the way Alison has brought her warmth and enthusiasm to the show and we hope viewers continue to enjoy it over the next month on ITV1 and on ITVX."

Alison Hammond has hit back at critics after facing backlash for replacing the late Paul O'Grady as the host of a beloved dog show. She robustly defended her new gig, saying "if you don't want to watch it, don't watch it".

The controversy sparked when some viewers questioned her suitability for the role, given that she doesn't have a dog herself.

Despite the criticism, Alison's first episode as host of For the Love of Dogs garnered an average of 1.84 million viewers, with a peak at 2 million. However, these numbers are a dip from the over four million viewers who tuned in to watch Paul O'Grady in 2021.

O'Grady, who passed away in March 2023, was so devoted to his canine companions that he allocated £125,000 in his will for their care. Alison was confirmed as the new face of For the Love of Dogs in January.

Speaking about stepping into O'Grady's shoes, Alison remarked: "I am very aware that I can never replace the iconic Paul in this wonderful series, but if I can continue to shine a light on the brilliant work done at Battersea and help to tell the stories of these beautiful dogs, then it will be an absolute privilege to give it my all. I can't wait to share the joy of their searches for new loving forever homes and hopefully make lots of furry friends of my own along the way."

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