C4 boss: Channel 5 is ‘good home’ for Big Brother

5 comments - Posted on February 9 2015 at 09:42pm

Channel 4

Channel 4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt has conceded that Big Brother UK has found a “good home” on Channel 5.

Hunt became the boss of the broadcaster in January 2011, four months after it aired its final episode of the long-running reality franchise.

Although she has helped it find new hit shows, C4 continues to feel the squeeze from its former cash cow, which has since become a reliable ratings magnet for C5.

Despite this, Hunt implied last week that C4 is better off in its post-Big Brother era – but acknowledged that the show “still has a place” on British television.

When quizzed about the performance of the recent Celebrity Big Brother on BBC Radio 5 last Tuesday, Hunt responded: “To be honest, I’m genuinely not a Big Brother fan, so I haven’t watched a huge amount. I came to Channel 4 because Big Brother wasn’t gonna be there.

“Clearly from the success you can see it’s had on C5, there are still people who love it. I’m not sure if it’s up on last year, it’s done well and they’ve got good casting in it, but I’m very clear that we’re here to do something else.

“Of course there’ll be a place for Big Brother, but I think that it’s found a good home on C5.”

Big Brother has helped C5 secure some key ratings victories over C4 since it revived the format in 2011, with the latest Celebrity edition – which became the most watched since 2010 – thrashing new gay drama Cucumber.

The first episode of the Russell T. Davies-penned show – which was heavily trailed as one of the centrepieces of C4’s winter schedule – attracted only 1.23million viewers, compared to 2.65million for that night’s CBB.

The second episode fared even worse, slipping to just 820,000 against CBB’s 3.02million.

The civilian Big Brother has also paid dividends, helping C5 beat C4 in audience share figures for the first time ever across one week in 2013.

Successful shows to emerge on C4 in recent years include Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, Benefits Street, Gogglebox and The Jump.

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5 comments on this article

  1. Lewis Griffiths says:
    Mon 09 Feb Reply !

    To be honest the reason I didn’t watch Cucumber had nothing to do with Big Brother. It’s because Channel 4 axed Utopia without giving it an ending, and I refuse to invest my time in to any drama on Channel 4 now, knowing that they won’t bother to close up the story if the ratings aren’t good. I have no trust in the broadcaster any longer. Therefore I couldn’t be bothered with Cucumber et al.

  2. Sam2 says:
    Mon 09 Feb Reply !

    I tend to agree with Brekkie’s tweet that as a non-fan “she basically thinks a sh*t show is at home on a sh*t channel”. :grin:

    @Lewis Griffiths
    Yeah, one of the things I don’t get with Channel 4 is they do still manage to get some pretty good non-mainstream programs, but after the first or second series they suddenly turn to rubbish for some inexplicable reason. Misfits was one, where the first two series were absolutely incredible, a real typical Channel 4 program at it’s best, but then from series three it was as if someone had suddenly flipped a switch and it turned to rubbish. Same happened with Utopia, brilliant first series, but the second series suddenly turned rubbish. The latest series of The Big Bang Theory has suddenly turned rubbish, although being American there’s not really much they can do about that. Thankfully Black Mirror hasn’t gone that way yet and is still good, but it wouldn’t surprise me based on some of the other Channel 4 series if something happened to that next.

    Not being a TV person, I’d love to know what exactly goes wrong behind the scenes. Do the writers get poached by Hollywood? Maybe the main people who created the concept for the show get their big pay packet and lose interest? I really don’t know.

    It’s surprising that Channel 5 managed to get Gotham, as I thought Channel 4 would’ve snapped that up pretty damn quickly as that’s right up their street. Channel 5 done well to beat Channel 4 to the post there.

  3. Loyal_BBFan says:
    Tue 10 Feb Reply !

    Channel 4 is boring now but it use to have loads of TV shows that I use to like watching.

    I wish BB was on Channel 4 as C5 keep breaking the rules.

    The only TV shows that I watch are:

    Coach Trip
    Alan Carr Chatty Man
    The Simpsons

    The rest boring!

    I wish Channel 4 or E4 would show repeats of BB and CBB. It’s a shame they got rid of BB :cry:

    It’s also a shame they got rid of Brookside as that use to be my favourite TV soap.

    It would be great if Channel 4 or E4 showed repeats of Brookside because I didn’t get to watch it from the start as I wasn’t born yet. So I’ve missed soooooooooooooooo many episodes. :sad:

    I use to watch Hollyoaks but I got bored of the TV soap and most of my favourite characters have left.

  4. Brekkie says:
    Sat 14 Feb Reply !

    Sam repeated my tweet – she’s speaking as a non-BB fan, which I consider most the viewers of C5’s version to be.

    C4 were probably right to axe it when they did but completely failed to capitalise on the opportunity removing it from the schedule should have created and relied too much on (very) cheap factual at 10pm rather than new drama, comedy and entertainment formats – something the £60m saved by ditching BB should have easily been able to fund.

    Sadly many of Big Brother’s critics couldn’t see how actually it was enabling C4 to do a lot of the things they believed C4 should be doing – I genuinely think C4 was at it’s peak when BB was at it’s peak with an incredibly good mix of original and US drama, entertainment and lifestyle shows plus a strong factual state which was unashamedly highbrow yet accessible – something that’s been as missing from the schedules as Big Brother has been of late.

  5. Brekkie says:
    Sat 14 Feb Reply !

    @Lewis Griffiths
    Re: Utopia – that’s pretty irrational really. C4 should never have given Utopia a second series in the first place considering the first lost half it’s viewers, but it did because (when it feels like it) it seems quite happy to reward critical success even when ratings are piss poor, which is why they keep recommissioning the awful Toast of London.

    Cucumber has failed because it’s scheduled as a mainstram 9pm drama (up against one of the BBC’s biggest successes) when drama always works best at 10pm on C4 once BBC1 and ITV switch off for the night. It’s the same with Indian Summers launching tomorrow – that is so not the sort of show C4 should be doing.

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