Channel 4 to axe Big Brother

Channel 4 has confirmed that it is to axe Big Brother after a decade, following the 11th series next summer.

The broadcaster announced at its autumn programming launch on Wednesday morning that it would not be renewing its deal with show producers Endemol, after their current contract expires in 2010.

There will be one more series of the show next year, as well as one more series of Celebrity Big Brother in January.

But after that the series will only go ahead if Endemol strikes a deal with another channel to show it.

Big Brother made its debut in 2000 and since then has become a staple of Channel 4’s summer schedule.

It made stars of many of its housemates, including Jade Goody, Kate Lawler, Brian Dowling and Chantelle Houghton, and at its peak in 2002 drew in up to 8m viewers per show.

However the current series has been drawing average audiences of just 2m, while advertising revenues are also down.

Reports suggest that Channel 4 has struggled to make a profit from the show since the controversy which surrounded the 2007 series of Celebrity Big Brother, in which Shilpa Shetty was the alleged victim of racist bullying in the house.

“The truth is nobody’s talking about Big Brother now,” a source told The Sun.

And a Channel 4 insider added, “The reality is people are bored with it. Even at Channel 4 the vibe among staff is that if you like Big Brother you’re not cool.”

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