Big Brother is to be axed after one final series next year, Channel 4 has confirmed.Ratings have declined steadily for the more recent series of Big Brother
The reality show has been a huge revenue-driver for the channel but ratings have plummeted for the current series.
It is understood Channel 4
has decided not to renew its deal with programme-maker Endemol and the
broadcaster will end the programme after screening the 11th series in
Channel 4 has a three-year deal with Endemol
, thought to be worth around £180m.
There will also be one more series of Celebrity Big Brother
early next year before the deal ends.
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.
Channel 4's director of television Kevin Lygo said: "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."
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.Shilpa Shetty: Caught in racism row
It has also made stars of contestants - most notably the late Jade Goody.Jade Goody: BB made her a star
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 average viewing figures have fallen from highs of more than five million to roughly two million for this series.
Channel 4 said it had already started to allocate an extra £20m from
the money which has been freed up to pump into drama for C4 and E4 from