So, it’s official. Or semi-official anyway. Channel4 won’t be renewing the Endemol deal to produce Big Brother after next year’s series. And for a while there it seemed like it would never end.
I haven’t watched Big Brother for a while now but I think the end of the show is a big deal. Think about it – the actual BB show on Channel4 is on everyday, for at least a hour, for around 13 weeks of the year. And that doesn’t include the eviction shows, the shows where something happens and they run over schedule, all those spin-offs (BBLB, BBBM, etc.) as well as the repeats in the morning and on the Sunday.
So what now?
BB is a cheap show to produce. And it’s not exactly a secret that Channel4 isn’t in the best shape of its life. So what’s going to fill all these slots? I’m willing to guess that morning repeats will return them to their bank of U.S. sitcoms (please not Friends, please not more Friends) but hopefully, for their primetime slots, Channel4 will return to their roots as a channel that inspires creativity though innovative content and budget restrictions will inspire production companies to work doubley-hard to surprise us with their resourcefulness.
Will the end of the BB era affect you in any way? Are you disappointed? Pleased? Might it lead you to watch more TV? Less TV? Maybe you think now it’s over you can go out again? What sorts of shows would you like to see Channel4 producing now? In short, what next?
EDIT (about an hour later…): Ooh la la, apparently the end of BB means that the original drama budget will be boosted by £20m. Caroline Cawley, an employee of Channel4, has written a blog over on 38 minutes which cites Kevin Lygo, Channel4’s Director of Television and Content, who expresses that :
…extra funds would be focused on delivering more event dramas for Channel 4, following the success of mini-series such as Red Riding and The Devil’s Whore, as well as seeking more quirky, returnable series aimed at younger audiences for Channel 4 and E4, in the mould of Shameless and Skins.
Oh goody 🙂
EDIT (a few hours after that…): After reading the Channel4 press release it transpires that as well as dramas the channel will be wanting to commission more show with a multiplatform angle, which is will be pretty cool when you think about how successful Embarassing Bodies and Landshare have been.
It also announced some new drama commissions for 2010 and beyond including a four-parter by Shane Meadows, We Are Faces (a four-parter based on William Boyd’s Any Human Heart) and a four parter from Peter Kominsky called Homeland.