TOWIE has been a fixture on our telly screens for an incredible seven years, and looks set to continue for a good while yet.
The ITVBe “scripted reality” show set the template for countless followers, and has made superstars of Mark Wright, Gemma Collins and James “Arg” Argent, to name but three.
However, show bosses are always thinking of ways to keep the programme fresh, and have come up with a massive change for the next series.
We’ve been used to seeing the residents of Essex twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, in 50-minute episodes.
But from 2018 onward the programme will be condensed into one hour-long episode, broadcast just once a week.
ITV supremos hope the switch will create more drama in the new compact show size.
And the change also means the series will run for longer – with just one episode airing a week instead of two.
Amanda Stavri, ITV’s Commissioner for Factual Entertainment, told CelebsNow: “TOWIE has always been appointment to view television and we’re excited that the new hour-long weekly episodes will allow us to build to a bigger, better and more dramatic moment each week.”
TOWIE will return for not one, but two series in 2018 in the new format, with a total of 21 episodes broadcast.
Intriguingly, it seems show bosses are also looking to keep up with the fast-paced nature of modern life and broadcast scenes as quickly as possible after they happen.
Head of Non-Scripted Content for Lime Pictures Sarah Tyekiff said to CelebsNow: “We’re thrilled that TOWIE is returning for its 22nd series and can’t wait to bring it back with a bang in the new year.”
“We’re returning to a fast-turnaround production so the audience can experience all the lols, make-ups and break-ups in real time.
“TOWIE will also be on ITVBe for more weeks of the year meaning we get to indulge in our gorgeous and glamorous cast for that little bit longer. What happens in Essex, won’t stay in Essex!”
The shakeup of the show’s format follows hot on the heels of reports about newer cast members being at risk of the chop.
Reports suggested that newer stars like Maddie Hooper and Ruby Lacey were facing a possible exit from the show, after not sharing enough of their personal lives with the cameras.
Although show stalwarts like Gemma Collins, Chloe Sims and James Lock are all safe – for now!