Celebrity Big Brother tops Channel 5 ratings despite axe

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Celebrity Big Brother topped Channel 5's ratings in its final week, ahead of news of its axe.

Channel 5 confirmed last Friday morning that it had axed Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother after seven years. The show started on the channel in 2011 after a decade on Channel 4, but won't be back after the current series ends.

Although viewing figures for the show have declined in recent years, Celebrity Big Brother's most recent season still proved a big hit for Channel 5.

The latest consolidated viewing figures from BARB - which include catch up numbers - show that Celebrity Big Brother episodes made up 8 of Channel 5's Top 10 programmes.

Only The Yorkshire Vet and GPs Behind Closed Doors also made the top 10 list.

The average rating for Channel 5's top programmes for the week was 1.1 million viewers, dropping to 800,000 without Celebrity Big Brother.

Celebrity Big Brother's final ever series averaged just under 2 million viewers across its run.

Although CBB and BBUK won't be back on Channel 5, there's speculation they could make a move to ITV's network.

The Times reports that ITV has bid £3 billion for the Endemol Shine group which makes Big brother as well as other TV favourites such as MasterChef and Peaky Blinders.

While Big Brother would almost certainly not air on the main channel, it could take up a spot on ITV2 alongside Love Island or even digital station ITVBe, which is focused on reality TV.

An industry insider told The Sun newspaper this weekend: "Celebrity Big Brother is a hugely popular format and a massive brand that attracts millions of absolutely dedicated and importantly, young fans. That makes it extremely valuable when it comes to advertising.

"And there is no way another channel won't snap it up and bring it back, probably as early as next year.

"Channel Five getting rid of it is a massive gamble. It's still their most popular show, so it may be a decision they live to regret."

Production company Endemol said in a statement last week that Big Brother "continues to be a global phenomenon" with series in 20 countries, including the US which recently launched its first ever Celebrity season.

They added: "Whilst disappointed not to reach an agreement with Channel 5 the decision opens up a new chapter and we are excited about future possibilities for Big Brother in the UK."

For now, the final series of Big Brother on Channel 5 airs Sunday-Friday nights.

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