RTE to steal Big Brother rights from TV3 in Ireland?

Show's current home facing bidding war, with rival interested in 'long-term' deal
- Posted on February 14 2016 at 08:22pm

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TV3 is facing a bidding war to keep hold of Big Brother UK in the Republic of Ireland – with rival broadcaster RTE said to be interested in poaching the rights.

TV3 has enjoyed ratings success with Big Brother since it acquired the show last May, marking the first time it aired in the Emerald Isle since it was axed by Channel 4 in 2011 – and the first time ever that it had been picked up by an Ireland-based broadcaster.

The ‘Timebomb’ civilian series averaged 131,700 viewers, with a reach of 2.68million – 60% of the Irish population – while the latest Celebrity run did even better, averaging 174,700.

And it seems these numbers have caught the eye of RTE, as The Irish Sun reports that the network is in early talks with production company Endemol Shine for a long-term deal to air Big Brother on its secondary channel, RTE2.

“Big Brother has been around a long time but it works brilliantly attracting the young audience RTE2 are after,” a source explained. “It also produces hundreds of hours of footage which can air across RTE and all their digital formats.”

RTE was particularly impressed by the latest CBB, with highlights including Tiffany Pollard mistakenly believing David Gest was dead, and Stephanie Davis’s controversial romance with Irish model Jeremy McConnell. “There was a row every night, you couldn’t help tuning in,” the source added.

TV3’s initial one-year deal is thought to have expired, with a spokesperson confirming to bbspy last summer that it only covered Timebomb and the last two Celebrity series.

However, The Sun claims that TV3 bosses have already extended their arrangement for the 17th civilian and 18th Celebrity runs, taking place this summer.

Both TV3 and RTE have yet to comment on the news.

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