Belfast Telegraph

Channel 5 boss: Big Brother money didn’t go as far as I would have liked

Director of programmes Ben Frow axed the long-running reality show last year.

The Big Brother house (Bart Pajak/Channel 5/PA)
The Big Brother house (Bart Pajak/Channel 5/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Channel 5 boss Ben Frow has said the money he saved by axing Big Brother did not go as far as he would have liked.

Mr Frow, director of programmes at the broadcaster, called time on the long-running reality show last year amid a ratings slump.

He told the Edinburgh TV Festival he had felt a sense of “liberation” but that part of the money saved by the move “went to the bottom line”.

He said: “Some of the money went to the bottom line. It’s very tough out there. The advertising market is brutal. Brexit is a big concern to us frankly.

“We decided to put more money into drama. I think we have been a bit more ambitious with our factual programmes. We can be so much more luxuriating with the budget we can be spending on people.

“But the money from Big Brother didn’t go as far as I would have liked it to have gone, truth be told. We had something like 220,000 hours of television to fill.”

The programme – which saw housemates live together in a custom-built home for weeks without access to the outside world in a bid to win a cash prize – started in 2000 on Channel 4 and Channel 5 took over in 2011.

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Emma Willis hosted the reality show from 2013 (Ian West/PA)

Mr Frow said he had no plans to revive the show as it did not fit with Channel 5’s current image.

He said: “Nothing is ever dead forever, you know, but I have no plans to bring it back.”

He added: “I think I was very open about the fact that I thought it was time to lose Big Brother from the channel. It was a very expensive programme.

“It was like a liberation. It was a very expensive show but also it had had its day.

“Don’t get me wrong. It was an incredibly valuable programme at one time but it no longer was. Everything is cyclical.

“In terms of our reputation, in terms of our schedule, in terms of us trying new things, in terms of our evolution, it is important that we face the future without something that was taking up 17 weeks of the year.”

PA

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