Claims ‘Big Brother’ is set to be axed this year have reached new heights, as it has been reported Channel 5 are already looking for new shows to replace it.
According to Broadcast, bosses are currently receiving pitches to fill the 110 vacant hours in the primetime schedule should they decide not to renew their deal to air the reality show.
However, it is claimed this is simply a contingency plan, with Channel 5 saying it is “prudent” to want to have something prepared if ‘BB’ is axed.
Channel 5′s current contract with production company Endemol will take them to the end of 2018, with one more civilian series and one more celebrity run set to air this year.
Meanwhile, a Channel 5 spokesperson told Digital Spy there is currently no updates on the ‘Big Brother’ negotiations, but fans can expect news soon.
Previous reports have claimed Channel 5 could reach a new deal, but the show’s budget could be cut, in line with the ratings decline it has suffered in recent years.
Last year, Channel 5 boss Ben Frow admitted he would be “happier” if the show were axed, saying he doesn’t want “other people’s programmes” on his network, as he wasn’t the person who originally snapped up the rights when ‘BB’ left Channel 4 in 2010.
Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Ben said: “I would be much happier if the channel did not have ‘Big Brother’ on it.
“I like the ratings but I want to create our own programmes. I don’t really want other people’s programmes. I want my own programmes that we have created.”
Big Brother’s first-ever winner, Craig Phillips, recently admitted he also believes it was time to close the house’s doors for good, telling the Shropshire Star: “On the one hand it massively changed my life, predominantly for the better, and it would be the end of an era if it was axed.