Big Brother to be axed after final series

Big Brother is to be axed after one more series next year, Channel 4 said today.

The broadcaster will end the programme, for which ratings have plummeted for its current series, after screening the 11th series of the "reality" show in 2010.

It is understood Channel 4 has decided not to renew its deal with programme-maker Endemol for Big Brother, which has been a huge revenue-driver for the channel.

Channel 4 has a three-year deal with Endemol, thought to be worth around £180 million, to screen the series.





There will also be one more series of Celebrity Big Brother early next year before the deal ends.

Channel 4's director of television Kevin Lygo said the decision not to recommission Big Brother was a creative rather than commercial one.

He said it had reached a "natural end".

Mr Lygo explained: "Big Brother is still profitable for Channel 4 despite its reduced popularity and there could have been the option to renew it on more favourable terms.

"That's what a purely commercial broadcaster would have done, but Channel 4 has a public remit to champion new forms of creativity.

"That remit to push the boundaries has been an essential part of the weird chemistry behind Big Brother's success, but it's now what is telling us that the programme has reached a natural end point on Channel 4 and it's time to move on."







Channel 4 said the move would lead to "the most significant creative transformation" in its history by freeing up 200 hours of peak time on the station and digital channel E4.

It will lead to a complete review of content at the cash-strapped broadcaster which will divert much of the BB costs to new programmes.

Mr Lygo said: "Cancelling Big Brother does not solve Channel 4's funding issues; this year we've nearly £125 million less to spend on programmes than we did a couple of years ago and budgets for next year may have to be reduced further.

"However, assuming advertising revenues stop deteriorating at some point, we should have greater flexibility in how we spend our commissioning budget.

"The significant sums that have been committed to Big Brother in the past should now be available to boost budgets in genres, such as drama, that have had to be cut back sharply during the downturn."

Julian Bellamy, head of Channel 4, said: "Big Brother will leave a huge hole and filling it will involve the most fundamental creative overhaul in our history. We've 18 months to transform the schedule; today's announcement is our biggest-ever creative call-to-arms to producers to come forward with their very best ideas."





Since its launch in 2000, Big Brother has been one of the UK's biggest TV talking points. From the expulsion of "Nasty" Nick Bateman during the first series to the racism and bullying rows which engulfed Celebrity Big Brother in 2007, it has generated countless headlines.

It has also made stars of contestants - most notably the late Jade Goody. Others who have gone on to capitalise on the career boost of BB have been Kate Lawler, who went on to become a TV and radio presenter, and Craig Phillips - the first winner - who became a TV handyman.

But interest in the show has shown a marked decline. From highs of eight million viewers at the height of its popularity, it has limped along with roughly two million for this series.

Channel 4 said today it had already started to allocate an extra £20 million from the money which has been freed up to pump into drama for C4 and E4 from 2011.











Mr Lygo said he wanted more "event" drama such as recent mini-series Red Riding and The Devil's Whore, plus continuing series such as Shameless and Skins.

Heralding this increased emphasis on drama, C4 announced today that it has commissioned a four-part serial from acclaimed director Shane Meadows called We Were Faces.

It will also screen a four-part drama from Peter Kosminsky, called Homeland, as well as an adaptation of William Boyd's best-selling novel Any Human Heart.

Mr Lygo said: "Channel 4 is at its best when it does things that others don't or won't. This is a fresh opportunity to reach out to audiences under-served by drama on the more mainstream channels."

Mr Bellamy praised the impact Big Brother has had on the TV landscape over the past decade.

"Big Brother has been our most influential and popular programme over the last decade. It's been hugely innovative in its own right, has provoked a really astonishing level of public debate and has been an under-appreciated showcase for social diversity and youth culture.

"Its success has also helped support an extraordinary range of creativity across Channel 4. Inevitably, we're both excited and ever-so-slightly terrified by the prospect of getting by without it."

He said the channel was grateful to the loyal viewers who would be "disappointed" by the axing.

"The final series will be an opportunity to give Big Brother an appropriate send-off and celebrate one of the most extraordinary programmes, not just in the history of Channel 4 but of TV in general," Mr Bellamy said.





Mr Lygo rejected the suggestion that the show's decline was prompted by the race row that marred Celebrity Big Brother in 2007.

Ratings for the main show were still among the strongest on the channel, he said, and if it had been a purely commercial decision, he would have sought to negotiate a new contract with Endemol.

He said he thought another channel was likely to pick up the show, and would be pleased to see it continue on air.

Dropping Big Brother will free up more than £50 million in total, Mr Lygo said, some of which will be allocated to E4 to buy in programmes.

Channel 4 will be looking for more quirky series in the Shameless and Skins mould to win younger audiences.

Mr Lygo said he wanted something that would suit a long run of 20 or more episodes and "would not look out of place" on US cable channel HBO, which has a history of showing high-quality series including Sex And The City and The Wire.

The current series of Big Brother winds up on September 5.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape