Big Brother will be back this summer – on Channel 5.
On-off negotiations between representatives of Richard Desmond’s television channel and Big Brother production company Endemol have finally resulted in an agreement – reputedly worth £200 million – to resurrect the reality TV behemoth previously stationed on Channel 4.
Channel 5’s coverage starts this summer with a new series of Celebrity Big Brother, and Desmond’s newspaper the Daily Star has already begun touting for celebrity contestants.
Mohamed Al Fayed is reportedly top of their wish list, while a “big money offer” is being prepared for mercurial actor Charlie Sheen.
The presenter slot is also yet to be filled, with Davina McCall, the former face of BB, stating last year that she would not return to the show and rumours that Cheryl Cole was being lined up for the job immediately scotched by her management.
Channel 5’s BB offering kicks off with four weeks of Celebrity Big Brother this August, before the return of the main show, hot on its heels in September, for a 13-week run.
Big Brother will then revert to its traditional schedule, starting with a second series of the celebrity version in January. That means it will be showing almost continually in some form between August 2011 and the end of January 2012. Great news for fans – not so great for everyone else.
Big Brother, a show that even at its lowest ebb pulled in two million viewers each night, was always going to be an attractive proposition for Channel 5, which regularly fails to hit those heights in even its primetime slot.
And it’s seen as a perfect fit for Richard Desmond’s tabloid empire, with celebrity magazine OK!, its spin-off show OK! TV and the Daily Star set to reap the benefits of unprecedented access to the series.