Despite no official news on the future of both Celebrity Big Brother and ‘civilian’ Big Brother just yet, Channel 5 has begun the process of searching for its replacement.
According to Broadcast Magazine, Director of programmes for Channel 5, Ben Frow, has reached out to several production companies to have them pitch ideas for new shows to replace Big Brother.
It is important to note that no official decision has been made regarding the future of Big Brother and the search for a possible replacement is in the event C5 decides to axe the show.
Frow commented that it was “prudent” for Channel 5 to begin the search for potential replacements for the reality series, in the event an agreement can not be reached between C5 and Endemol Shine.
The magazine reports that if the broadcaster does put the plug that it will open up 110 hours of primetime space on the channel.
“We know that it is unrealistic to think we can replicate the scale of Big Brother across the schedule, and given our content evolution and the diversification of our schedule, as well as the change in the TV landscape, we wouldn’t want to,” he said.
In January, reports surfaced that Channel 5 was ‘ready to axe’ both Celebrity Big Brother and Big Brother after the current contract expires at the end of the year. However, it was later revealed that the broadcaster was ‘likely’ to renew the deal after negotiations.
The news of a search for replacements for Big Brother is not ideal for fans who want the show to continue. However, one theory is the rumour is being used as a bargaining tool to lower the cost of the next contract.
Meanwhile, Endemol Shine was quick to point out that discussions over a new deal are still ongoing: “We continue to be in active discussions with C5 over the price of the next Big Brother deal.”
Ratings for Big Brother have declined in recent years, which has some thinking Channel 5 is looking to drive down the price for a new contract. It was reported back in 2015 that C5 currently pays £40million per year for three series of the Big Brother franchise per year.
Channel 5 have just two series left on their current contract with Endemol, one Celebrity series, and one civilian series.
Big Brother returns this summer to Channel 5.