Celebrity Big Brother and Big Brother could end up moving to a stream service from 2019.
Channel 5 is also considering ditching the ‘civilian’ Big Brother and renewing only its Celebrity spin-off, according to a report.
C5’s current deal for Big Brother will expire later this year, with the broadcaster and production firm Endemol Shine UK currently negotiating a possible extension.
However, low ratings and high price tag means the future of the long-running reality format is hanging in the balance.
Several options to keep the show on the air are now thought to be under consideration.
Sadly, it appears those options would come at the expense of the original Big Brother, featuring members of the public.
According to Broadcast magazine, one plan bosses have mooted is to axe the ‘civilian’ version entirely, leaving only Celebrity Big Brother on air.
Another would see it return, but for shorter runs, even though its length has already been cut in recent years.
The 17th series of Big Brother in 2016 was the shortest ever, lasting 50 days, while last year’s series was only four days longer.
The worst case scenario would see C5 pull the plug on Big Brother entirely – but even then, all may not be lost.
Broadcast adds that Endemol has received inquiries from a number of internet streaming services about the rights to the format.
It is unclear exactly which companies are interested, but bookies have previously taken bets on Amazon Prime and Netflix potentially acquiring the show.
The news comes after it emerged that C5 has invited production companies to pitch potential replacements for Big Brother.
An Endemol spokesperson recently said: “We continue to be in active discussions with C5 over the price of the next Big Brother deal.”
Two more series of Big Brother, one regular and one Celebrity, are guaranteed to air this summer.