Celebrity Big Brother axed? Summer series could be 'the last EVER' on Channel 5

Celebrity Big Brother 2017

The fate of Celebrity Big Brother and Big Brother hangs in the balance.

This year's summer series - which begins on Thursday night - could be the last ever to air on UK TV.

It's the final series in the current contract between Channel 5 and programme makers Endemol.

Show boss Paul Osbourne this week admitted they've yet to secure a renewal beyond 2018.

"We don’t know if this is going to be the last one and we are still in negotiations," he said.

The new creative director told the Daily Mail: "We are very hopeful. It's currently above our heads, [the producers] are not involved."

Last month, the Daily Star on Sunday reported that the deal would NOT be renewed beyond the end of 2018.

A source told the tabloid: "After months of discussions it has been decided to axe Celebrity Big Brother. Ratings have dropped for the past few series so it isn’t worth the hefty price tag.”

Channel 5 said in a statement: "The situation remains unchanged; Big Brother is currently contracted until the end of the year, there’s no update on future series beyond 2018."

Hosts Emma Willis and Rylan Clark-Neal have both given their support to the show amid rumours of its axe.

Rylan admitted recently: "If it didn’t come back I would be utterly devastated. I can’t imagine TV without Big Brother, I’d love to see it make 20 years — of course I would."

Rylan said that there "are changes coming" to the show in summer to help it compete against the likes of Love Island, which has proved a huge ratings hit on ITV2.

The former CBB winner explained: “I think it’s time to make Big Brother what it was. I’ve always had one­ ­million per cent faith in the format and that it can be the greatest show on telly.”

And Emma said earlier this year: "I’m hoping it’s not the last Big Brother.

“I hope they recommission it. I love it. They did brilliant things in January. I think they could do that for the summer series.”

She suggested: “Big Brother shouldn’t try and ­compete with a show or become like Love Island. It’s nothing like it. They have ­different audiences. There are people who want to watch people in their bikinis on a beautiful island copping off with each other.

“That’s because we all love a bit of romance and ­watching love blossom. But there are a lot of people who don’t want to watch that. And those people may want to watch Big Brother. They will remain with it and they should be catered for.”

Even if Channel 5 does drop Big Brother, it may not be the end of the show.

It could well be picked up by another channel or streaming service, just like Channel 5 took over the show when Channel 4 axed it in 2010.

For now, Celebrity Big Brother will air from Thursday, August 16, followed by another series of Big Brother.

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