He has been one of the faces of Friday night television for as long as we can remember, but Jonathan Ross' famous chat show could be coming to an end.

Viewers may be witnessing the end of an era as Ross, 55, takes a break to the US for most of 2017 after his ITV contract expires, meaning that the regular winter show – traditionally aired from January to March – will be replaced by a new programme. The news has lead to reports about the show being quietly axed, according to The Mirror.

Contrarily, a spokesman for the talk show host said: "Jonathan is extending his hiatus into the early part of next year to travel to the US. The chat show will return in the autumn of 2017."

ITV sources have revealed that a television comeback is unlikely due to the show's plummeting ratings, dwindling as low as 1.8 million. An insider told The Mirror: "Ross is taking a break, which could run and run. The show's been axed by stealth."

Ross is thought to be paid approximately £1m a year for the show that garners around half the ratings for BBC rival Graham Norton, who enjoys ratings of up to 4 million. Ross has since complained that his BBC rival entertains better guests.

He left the BBC, where he was earning up to £6m a year, after a decade, joining ITV in 2011. Wossy's departure followed his suspension over the Sachsgate scandal involving comedian Russell Brand. He said at the time: "I think it's not a bad time for me to move on. It's possibly not a bad time for them either."

Director of television at ITV, Kevin Lygo, supported Ross but did not confirm the show's return. He said: "Jonathan Ross is very important to ITV and we look forward to the new series this autumn and the Christmas special and working with him again next year when the chat show returns in Autumn 2017."

Some of our favourite moments on Jonathan Ross' show so far:

Benedict Cumberbatch's hilarious impersonations of Alan Rickman and Jonathan Ross

Boris Johnson and James Corden row about bicycle helmets

The time Jonathan Ross and Will Smith got 'heated'

Justin Timberlake got Jonathan Ross drunk and played mini golf