TV presenters Mel and Sue have said they were unable to sign up to ITV's ailing entertainment programme The Nightly Show because they were too busy.
Former Great British Bake Off hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins were approached about joining the ITV series, which has been panned by viewers.
The topical entertainment show floundered when it was launched with David Walliams as host last week, shedding more than half of its debut audience of almost three million in its second outing and being slated as "drivel" by viewers.
Mel and Sue wished the show luck.
"We were approached to take part in the series; however, due to our busy schedule, we were unable to make the dates work," the pair said in a statement.
"We do wish the team all the best with the remainder of the series."
A show spokesman denied that the pair had pulled out of the series.
"Mel and Sue were never signed to present The Nightly Show," he said.
"The production team undertook discussions with them about the possibility of presenting a week but due to their hectic schedule this wasn't possible."
The show appeared to rebound slightly this week when John Bishop took over as host, pulling in an average audience of 2.4 million, with a peak of 3.1 million.
But Tuesday's instalment only drew 1.5 million viewers.
A source said Tuesday's show "built its audience across the 30-minute programme, going from 1.4 million to 1.6 million, and had a 10% audience share up on last Tuesday's show."
The show is still being savaged on social media by viewers who say they are switching off.
One viewer posted on Twitter: "Oh it's 10pm let's turn over for #thenightlyshow said nobody ever #giveup #embarrassing #trashTV."
"ITV if #TheNightlyShow was good I wouldn't even have this account. You are a national bloody embarrassment and disgrace," said another.
Suggesting the show might not pass muster with the European Court of Human Rights, another said: "Ok, watched 10 minutes of #thenightlyshow, that's enough, for my own sanity, I doubt ECHR would allow this programme to be shown in prisons."
The show is attempting to replicate the late-night programmes popular in the US.
It will run for eight weeks, hosted by a series of celebrities.