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Big stars lined up as Celebrity Big Brother returns

LONDON - 'Celebrity Big Brother' is to return to Channel 4 and E4 in the New Year for a fifth series with speculation that housemates could include Whitney Houston and Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding.

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The new series, which is being sponsored by Carphone Warehouse, returns on January 3, along with spin-off programmes 'Celebrity Big Brother's Little Brother' and 'Celebrity Big Brother's Big Brain', which will both be hosted by Dermot O'Leary, and 'Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth', presented by Russell Brand.

Channel 4 said fans would be able to keep up to date with the series via the Big Brother website's live streaming subscription service, live streaming on E4, email updates and chat forums.

The identity of the new housemates is a secret until launch night. Yet names connected to the fifth series include Britney Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline, who has reportedly been offered £150,000 to appear on the show.

The Sun quotes an insider on the Channel 4 show as saying: "Kevin is hugely entertaining because he takes himself really seriously -- even though no-one else does. He'll be great for the show because it's all about larger-than-life characters."

Series four of 'Celebrity Big Brother' featured former Labour MP George Galloway, who made his name with a bizarre cat impersonation in a pink leotard. The show was won last year not by a celebrity, but by Chantelle Houghton, who was introduced into the house as a fake celebrity. She went on to marry fellow contestant and Ordinary Boys singer Preston.

Previous versions of the show have been won by former Happy Monday's dancer Bez, Take That singer Mark Owen and comedian Jack Dee, who won the show's first outing.

Channel 4 said each celebrity contestant would be nominating a charity to support, with the total money raised from text vote revenue to be split equally among the housemates.

The previous series, which lasted for 18 days, attracted nearly 3m votes and a peak audience share of 6.8m for Channel 4.

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