Richard Desmond-controlled UK terrestrial Channel 5 (C5) is close to finalizing a deal to bring back landmark reality show Big Brother, according to a report in one of Desmond’s newspapers.
Execs at the channel are “at an advanced stage” in discussions with producer Endemol, according to the Daily Star, a tabloid controlled by Desmond. The report comes as presenter Matthew Wright told viewers on C5′s talk show Wright Stuff today that it was “a done deal.”
The reality show has been off air in the UK since rival terrestrial Channel 4 (C4) dropped the format last year, having aired 11 seasons and numerous spin-offs. Despite waning appeal, the show still brought in considerable audiences for C4, averaging 2.9 million viewers across 2010. At its peak in 2004, it averaged 5.1 million.
The news comes after Desmond acquired C5 for £103.5m (US$160.2m) in July of last year. At the time, the Northern & Shell boss wasted no time in announcing that Big Brother was on his “shopping list.” However, initial talks stalled.