British TV shows are set to be changed for ever following a Government decision to lift the ban on product placement in programmes.

The new ruling means that independent broadcasters will be able to take payments for displaying commercial products during shows.

And insiders believe it could bring in up to £100m a year for cash-strapped channels such as ITV.

However the changes will not apply to the BBC, which will still be banned from using product placement.

There will also be strict safeguards in place for children’s programmes.

It could change the face of shows such as American Idol, in which the judges have large red Coca-Cola glasses on the table at auditions.

Currently the logo is blurred out when the show is screened on ITV2 but under the new rules it could be visible.

Shows such as Coronation Street and Britain’s Got Talent could also benefit, with products allowed to be shown and referred to.

And Channel 4’s Big Brother could look very different in its last series next summer as food and drink products consumed in the house will no longer need to have their packaging obscured.

At the moment the shows have to cover up labels to comply with the rules or face strict fines.

An ITV spokesman welcomed the move, which he described as “reforming UK prohibition”.

“If the government does decide to permit product placement, it will be warmly welcomed by the commercial broadcasting industry and advertisers alike.

New sources of revenue means better-funded content – which can only be good news for viewers.”

The spokesman added that ITV had led the campaign for product placement in the UK and that it had the potential to be an important new revenue stream for the channel.