Channel 5 is axing Big Brother spin-off Bit on the Side and replacing it with its predecessor BB’s Little Brother in a last-ditch bid to save the show, according to reports.
The future of the ailing series is in doubt because of disappointing ratings and fans’ fatigue with the jaded format, now in its 19th year.
Bosses hope to revive its fortunes by falling back on BB’s old companion show, which last aired in 2010.
It is understood that Bit on the Side host Rylan Clark-Neal will remain at the helm of Big Brother’s Little Brother and that it will air before the main show.
The current spin-off is broadcast immediately after Big Brother’s nightly highlights and has a live studio audience.
It has courted controversy over the years, including an infamous incident in 2015 when the programme had to be taken off air during a furious on-screen row between Bit on the Side panellists.
‘Allo ‘Allo actress Vicki Michelle was caught in the crossfire as a champagne glass was reportedly thrown across the studio during a bust-up between ex-housemates Farrah Abraham and Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace.
Amid rumours that this year’s series could be the last, a show source told the Daily Star: “Ratings for Bit on the Side have dropped in recent years. It is felt that it has had its time.
“Channel 5 now wants Big Brother’s spin-off to be like it was years ago. So it makes sense to bring back Little Brother.
“It will be a more relaxed affair without any swearing or the naughty games people often saw on Bit on the Side.”
BB’s Little Brother’s previous hosts were Dermot O’Leary, who also hosted the main show on Channel 4, and George Lamb.
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Big Brother presenter Emma Wills said recently that negotiations between Channel 5 and the production company were ongoing.
The current deal is up at the end of the year, following one more celebrity version and a regular series, and it is not yet known if it will be renewed.
Entertainment Daily! has contacted Channel 5 for a comment.
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