The Geordie duo were tested as possible co-hosts for Denise when her original on-screen partner Rick Adams left the Channel 4 brekkie show back in 1997.
Speaking to The Mirror, Denise said: “When my co-presenter Rick Adams left the show, I held the fort down on my own for a while.
“Sometimes [I would be] working with various guest presenters with a view to them becoming permanent if the chemistry between us was right.
“We had Ant and Dec on, which didn’t work out – with two of them and one of me. Then we had Davina McCall, which was fine, but the producers preferred the combination of one boy/one girl.”
HuffPost UK has contacted a representative for Ant and Dec for comment.
While the boys did not land the gig, the following year they went on to launch the hugely successful Saturday morning kids show SM:tv Live with Cat Deeley, which served as a springboard for the rest of their careers.
After Johnny was chosen for the Big Breakfast gig, he and Denise went on to host Channel 4’s hit weekday morning show together on and off between 1997 and 2001.
Their turn fronting the show went down so well with viewers that they called for it to make a full-time return.
Denise previously teased that there had been “conversations” about doing something to mark The Big Breakfast’s 30th anniversary later this year.
She told MailOnline last year: “We’d want to see all the old faces return and play some of the old games too. I’m sure the fans would love it and see it as a real nostalgia trip.”
She also opened up about how lockdown helped heal her rift with Johny, after they fell out when Denise discovered he was renegotiating his contract without telling her.
They were briefly reunited on Capital FM’s breakfast show in 2008, but Denise left after only six months.
“Lockdown did a lot of things for a lot of friendships and people reconnecting and some people, their relationship went to dust,” she told Good Morning Britain. “We were that lucky partnership that got back in touch.
“I would love to work with him again, we both said we’d like to do something.”