Well this isn't good news.
Channel 5 is looking to change its image by showing more upmarket programmes and becoming less defined by the reality show Big Brother.
Sources at the broadcaster say it will undergo a rebranding exercise following its £450m purchase by the American media group Viacom from the Daily Express owner Richard Desmond in May.
Channel 5 is anxious to define its own identity rather than be seen merely as a competitor to Channel 4, which ditched Big Brother in 2010 saying it wanted to undergo “creative renewal”.
The changes at Channel 5 are likely to see Big Brother pushed to the margins of the late-night schedule. Mr Desmond bought the show in 2011 after eight months of negotiations with producers Endemol and it provided the backbone of the schedule during much of his four-year ownership of the public-service broadcaster.
The Northern & Shell publishing mogul made a vast profit from Channel 5, having purchased the network for a bargain basement £104m from the German-owned media company RTL Group in 2010.
Big Brother’s dominance of the Channel 5 schedule has become less pronounced in the past year as the rest of the schedule was improved to fatten the offering ahead of its sale. The new American crime drama Gotham, which started with an audience of 3.8 million, is the network’s best-performing show of the year so far.
Big Brother has already been moved from 9pm in the schedule to 10pm, where it still attracts audiences of up to 2.4 million. It is likely that the broadcaster would be prepared to push the show to 11pm in the belief that the loyal and young, and mainly female, audience would follow it. Celebrity Big Brother, which was last scheduled this summer at 9pm and drew audiences of up to 3.7 million for a series won by the 70-year-old American actor Gary Busey. Channel 5 believes its opportunities are in chasing a young audience and sometimes targeting upmarket viewers when rival terrestrial broadcasters are scheduling populist entertainment shows.
It is looking to win a new reputation for history programming. The historian Dan Jones will next month present Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty: The Plantagenets, and the broadcaster hopes to attract some of the audience that followed recent BBC Two series on the Tudors and the Stuarts. In an attempt to attract younger viewers, it is being presented as a real-life version of hit American fantasy drama Game of Thrones, shown by Sky Atlantic in the UK.
The channel also has high hopes for 10,000BC, which is being billed as mix of social experiment and living history by taking 20 men and women and placing them in the conditions of the Stone Age.
The series, to be shown early next year, is one of several production collaborations between Channel 5 and Group M Entertainment, which is part of Sir Martin Sorrell’s global advertising conglomerate WPP.
Group M Entertainment is also involved in another big Channel 5 history project, Rome : The First Superpower, a four-part series that will be shown from tomorrow in prime time. Filmed across Europe and in North Africa and the Middle East it will give the presenter Larry Lamb, best known as an actor in the BBC comedy Gavin & Stacey, the opportunity to be a modern-day Edward Gibbon.