Big Brother gets the boot

Big Brother's eleventh series will be its last, it has been announced. British broadcaster Channel 4 has scrapped the show after this year's series proved a ratings flop.

The channel is currently tied into a deal with the programme's producer, Endemol, which will see Big Brother broadcast next year; however, the contract has not been renewed, bringing an end to the reality show after over a decade of scheming housemates, questionable tasks and scandal.

The show has seen its ratings drop over the years with the latest series, which ends next week, being the least-watched of them all. Attracting an average of just 2 million viewers this year (6 million fewer than its peak in its third series in 2002) the series has seen a steady decline for some time.

Channel 4's director of content, Kevin Lygo, claims the show's falling ratings had nothing to do with its cancellation, claiming: "Big Brother is still profitable for Channel 4 despite its reduced popularity and there could have been the option to renew it on more favourable terms."

"Channel 4 has a public remit to champion new forms of creativity," Lygo continued: "That remit to push the boundaries has been an essential part of the weird chemistry behind Big Brother's success, but it's now what is telling us that the programme has reached a natural end point on Channel 4 and it's time to move on."

The broadcaster is exploring its options for replacement programmes in 2011, but stresses it's not seeking a show with a similar format to Big Brother. Instead, it intends to allocate the £20 million freed up by the axing of the show into new drama commissioning.

Internationally, the show, which originated in the Netherlands, has already been axed in Australia, but the American version, which began this summer, has seen a steady rise in viewers. This may not be the end for Big Brother in the UK, however. Despite not being re-commissioned by Channel 4 it may get picked up by another British broadcaster, so watch this space.

The tenth series of Big Brother continues on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm, and concludes on Friday, September 4, from 8:30pm.

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