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Celebrity Big Brother axed by TV channel

The reality TV show was at the centre of controversy in Jan over the alleged racist bullying of actress Shilpa.

world Updated: Aug 25, 2007 16:26 IST
HS Rao
HS Rao

Celebrity Big Brother, the British reality TV show which was at the centre of controversy over the alleged racist bullying of actress Shilpa Shetty in January this year, is to be scrapped, media reported on Saturday.

<b1>Channel 4 will turn its back on the reality show, which attracted 54,000 complaints and sparked international outrage over the treatment meted out to Shilpa by her fellow participants, and four other successful programmes as it aims to concentrate on new, high-quality material, the Daily Mail tabloid said.

However, industry insiders believe the decision not to run the celebrity show in 2008 may herald the beginning of the end of Big Brother.

Ratings for the current non-celebrity series are down on last year. And Channel 4 admitted that the summer version could be moved from Channel 4 to the smaller digital channel E4 in future.

Critics have accused Channel 4 of going down-market in recent months, saying it has become over-reliant on reality, lifestyle and factual entertainment shows.

The broadcaster described its planned changes as a "creative overhaul". It said the programming revamp is designed to refresh its schedules and re-assert its public service credentials.

But others believe it is a direct result of the damage Big Brother did to Channel 4's reputation.

Ofcom, the regulator, ruled earlier this year that Channel 4 had breached the broadcasting code with "serious editorial misjudgements".

The broadcaster aired three apologies ahead of the current, non-celebrity series, after it was accused of mishandling of the racist footage.

First Published: Aug 25, 2007 16:04 IST