The BRIT Awards will return with a live TV broadcast next year, with confirmation today that the event will be staged at London's Earls Court on Feb. 20.

National broadcaster ITV has also signed a three-year deal to screen the awards, organised by labels body the BPI, until 2010 -- the 30th anniversary of the U.K. music industry's annual awards show.

"The BRITs is the ultimate celebration of British and international musical talent and is one of the most important musical events of the year," said ITV controller of music and events Guy Freeman in a statement. "At a time when British musical talent is thriving, we are delighted to be continuing our close relationship with the awards for the next three years.''

Last year the event was broadcast live for the first time in 17 years and scored average ratings of 5.3 million viewers, up 700,000 on the 2006 ceremony. The BRITs will return to terrestrial channel ITV1 with an 8pm broadcast and further backstage coverage will air on digital channel ITV2.

This year's nominees, based on the votes of more than 1,000 members of the BRITs Academy, will be announced on Jan. 14 with a live broadcast on ITV2.

"The BRITs is Europe's biggest and best musical showcase and 2008 promises to be bigger and better than ever," said the new Brits Committee chairman Ged Doherty, also Sony BMG Music U.K. and Ireland chairman/CEO, in a statement. "The return to live broadcast earlier this year saw an increase in TV audience and we want to build on that by taking next year's show live once again. With ITV committing to the BRITs until 2010, we now have a great opportunity to deliver an even better live and interactive experience for our audience through the ITV platforms and beyond.

"I am also working on some new ideas to see how we can take the BRITs celebrations beyond London to the regions, reinforce the crucial role played by the Academy in selecting nominees and award winners and give greater profile to the charities that the BRIT Trust supports."

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