Channel 4 buys three more years of Big Brother
LONDON - Channel 4 is to run its ratings banker 'Big Brother' until 2010 after agreeing a three-year extension with the reality TV programme maker Endemol.
The deal means this year's seventh series will be followed by four more, accompanied by more 'Celebrity Big Brother' and other spin-off programming such as 'Big Brother's Little Brother'.
The broadcaster recently experienced a setback when Sky One took cult US import 'Lost' off its hands and it was pleased to extend the life of its most reliable property, following speculation that a bidding war might break out for the show with ITV said to have shown interest.
Angela Jain, commissioning editor, said: "Channel 4 is the spiritual home of Big Brother."
This year's series, featuring winner and Tourette's Syndrome sufferer Pete and dizzy blonde Nikki, delivered an average audience of 4.7m viewers, up on the previous series' 4.5m. The final attracted 8.2m and a 45.6% share of all viewing.
Channel 4's sales operation recently incurred its first advertising trading deficit because of its weak ratings performance in the second half of the year. It has to pay £30m, around 4% of its revenue, in undelivered deals back to agencies and has raised its prices for next year by 5%.
As well as delivering audience, 'Big Brother' has helped the broadcaster establish itself in a multichannel and multimedia world. It supported its first digital channel, E4, when it launched in 2001 by running the second series 24 hours a day while streaming action from the house live on the internet.
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