It’s the end of an era – after 18 years on our screens, the new series of Big Brother was announced to be the last by Channel 5 bosses yesterday.
In a statement that was issued just hours before the show launched last night, Channel 5 executives explained that they had decided to cut ties with the show.
“The forthcoming series of Big Brother will be the last – of either celebrity or civilian versions – on Channel 5,” the statement read. “We’d like to thank Endemol and all the production team who have worked tirelessly to make the show a success.”
But while fans were left reeling that this could be the end of the reality TV behemoth, it has since been reported that the once hugely popular format will likely be snapped up by another broadcaster – and the show could be returning to our screens as earlier as next year.
An industry insider told The Sun newspaper: “Celebrity Big Brother is a hugely popular format and a massive brand that attracts millions of absolutely dedicated and, importantly, young fans.
“That makes it extremely valuable when it comes to advertising. And there’s no way another channel won’t snap it up and bring it back, probably as early as next year.”
The source also claimed that, by binning one of its most watched programmes, Channel 5 may lose out by cancelling the show.
“Channel 5 getting rid of it is a massive gamble,” the insider added. “It’s still their most popular show, so it may be a decision they live to regret.”
Big Brother first moved to Channel 5 in 2011, after the series was initially axed by original broadcaster, Channel 4, ten years after it first launched in 2000.
The show has not been without its controversy over the years, with Big Brother roundly drawing criticism over claims housemates face bullying, racism, and mental distress while on the show.
The most recent series of Celebrity Big Brother sparked outrage across the nation when former soap star Roxanne Pallett claimed that fellow housemate Ryan Thomas had ‘assaulted her’.
Calling him a “woman-beater”, the Emmerdale actress, 35, said Ryan had punched her “hard and intentionally” in the ribs, before choosing to leave the Big Brother house and apologising for her mistake when she reviewed the footage.
Meanwhile Ryan, 34, amassed huge public support during the controversy, and went on to win the series.
In an emotional launch night last night, host Emma Willis had to hold back the tears as she praised the show she had been at the helm of since 2013.
Speaking on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side, the 42-year-old explained: “This should be a positive thing because we should just [expletive] show everybody how great it is.
“And we should love it and embrace it and give it the send-off it deserves.
“I’m getting emotional now. They’ve made a brilliant mix.”
Bit On The Side host Rylan Clark-Neal also issued an emotional statement bidding farewell to the show.
Taking to Twitter, the 29-year-old wrote: “After six years working on one of the most iconic shows on television I’m saddened to hear the news Big Brother won’t be returning. It has been the biggest privilege being a housemate, a winner and a host on my favourite show on television.
“I hope one day Big Brother will return but my focus now, as with the rest of the team is to make our last series our best yet.”
Would you like to see Big Brother back on another channel? Leave a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!