Reports: Channel 4 may axe ‘Big Brother’

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The latest twist in the ‘Big Brother’ saga is that the hit reality TV show could be axed by Channel 4, after the current series ends this week.

According to The Sunday Times, several members of the board — chaired by Luke Johnson, former head of Pizza Express, believe last week’s allegations of racism have so discredited the show that it is doing immense harm to the channel and damaging race relations.

“Does this sort of programme still hold up today?” asked a senior board member about Big Brother this weekend, the report said. “Britain’s race relations are still pretty fragile, so we must be very careful.”

On Monday, the board, whose members include Lord Puttnam, the film producer, Tony Hall, the former head of BBC News, the dotcom entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, and Karren Brady, managing director of Birmingham city football club, will ask for a paper to be drafted quickly to explore what went wrong last week and to examine whether the programme should be ended.

“Is the franchise dying now?” asked another board member on Saturday. “It certainly seems to be. Left to its own devices — that is, a so-called normal Big Brother without any manufactured row — it seems to be dying on its feet.

“Is it any longer legitimate to sustain the programme simply by turning up the volume to grab attention when the channel itself has no control over the outcome?” the member asked.

Before the racism controversy erupted last Tuesday and thousands of viewers complained, ratings for Celebrity Big Brother were disappointing.

Viewing figures rose only after Jade Goody and some other housemates ridiculed Shetty over her accent, her name, her food and her behaviour.

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