Speculation mounts over Big Brother return

Rumours are rife that Big Brother is set to return to screens this summer – but this time on Five.

The News Of The World reports that bosses at Endemol – which owns the rights to the series – are finalising a deal with the channel to revive the show after it was dropped by Channel 4.

Big Brother began in 2000 and ran for 11 series on Channel 4 before falling viewing figures finally led to its demise in 2010.

Channel 5 – which is now owned by Richard Desmond – originally expressed interest in buying the rights last summer but negotiations fell through.

“Desmond bought Channel 5 midway through last year hoping to turn it around,” an insider told the paper.

“Things have not gone as well for him as he would have liked, and so he needs Big Brother to prop up his summer schedules.

“But he is turning to a formula that Channel 4 decided to axe because it just wasn’t bringing in enough viewers.

“Nothing is signed yet but there have been fresh discussions with Endemol after earlier negotiations broke down.”

The previous talks reportedly collapsed after Endemol asked for too much money, but the paper now reports they are set to sell it for a reduced fee.

“For their part, Channel 5 feel pleased with the price now,” a source added. “But whether anyone will actually watch it to give them a return for their cash is anybody’s guess.

At the height of its popularity Big Brother – whose most famous housemates included Brian Dowling, Jade Goody, Craig Phillips and Nadia Almada – was watched by around 5m viewers a night. However ratings had fallen to less than 3m by the time the axe fell in 2010.

The final series of the show on Channel 4 was won by Josie Gibson.