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Channel 5 Seals Deal for BB return

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    Posted: 05 Apr 2011 at 21:40

Big Brother to return this year after Channel 5 seals deal

Reality show likely to be back in August as Richard Desmond- owned broadcaster finally concludes two-year £200m deal


    Charlie%20Sheen Big Brother: Richard Desmond's Daily Star Sunday said Charlie Sheen would receive a 'big money offer' to appear. Photograph: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

    Big Brother will be back on the small screen this summer after Richard Desmond's Channel 5 finally concluded eight months of negotiations to buy the format from Endemol in a two-year £200m deal.

    A formal announcement is expected on Wednesday, and the plan will be to run Celebrity Big Brother in August for four weeks, with the traditional Big Brother returning nightly for a 13-week run in September.

    The programme is starting late in the year because it has taken so long for the two sides to conclude negotiations that have stalled on several occasions, but Desmond is keen to extract full value from the contract in 2011.

    It is understood that the essentials of the format will remain unchanged, although there will be scramble to sign up famous guests for the celebrity programme – with Desmond's Daily Star openly touting for contestants.

    The Daily Star Sunday said that "top of the wanted list" was Mohamed al-Fayed, while "a big money offer" would be made to troubled US actor Charlie Sheen, with female targets including Amy Childs from The Only Way is Essex and Prince Harry's "on-off girlfriend" Chelsy Davy.

    Desmond's friends say that the mogul is keen to spend heavily to try and get the guests he wants – but the public overtures are often highly optimistic. Last week the Daily Star reported that Cheryl Cole could be lured into presenting Big Brother, only for the singer's publicists to say a day later that she had "not been approached" and that "she has no interest" in presenting the show.

    Desmond bought Channel 5 last summer for £103.5m, aiming to announce that he had brought Big Brother with him. Channel 4 had previously decided to drop the long-running show in an effort to concentrate on a "creative renewal" – leaving Endemol seeking a new broadcaster for the lucrative format.

    However, talks between Endemol and Channel 5 went so badly that Desmond himself chose to drop out of the direct negotiations, after he fell out with the Endemol chief executive, Ynon Kreiz. The task of concluding the deal fell instead to the Channel 5 director of programmes, Jeff Ford.

    It is understood that Big Brother will return to its traditional schedule in 2012 – running the celebrity show in January, before reappearing with the traditional group of wannabes in the summer months. That would mean an almost continuous run of Big Brother programmes – running night after night – on Channel 5 from August to January.



    The Guardian
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