‘The network is clearly in this for the long haul’: ITV bosses shortlist three new homes for ‘multi-series’ Big Brother return – as Kate Lawler jostles to replace Emma Willis as host
ITV bosses are looking at a range of sites for their Big Brother revival as the iconic reality show prepares to return ‘for the long-haul’, albeit with a series of changes – among them a new host.
Producers are understood to be reviewing a handful of potential locations on the outskirts of north London as they look to move the soon-to-be revived show away from its former home at Hertfordshire’s Elstree Studios.
Bovingdon airfield, which also serves as the home of Dancing On Ice, was originally muted as a possible home – but bosses are now said to be keen on viewing other alternative locations.
All change: ITV bosses will move Big Brother away from its traditional home at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire (pictured)
A source told The Sun: ‘The network is clearly in this for the long haul and plans on a successful multi-series run with Big Brother, just like Channel 4 did back in the day.
‘Channel bosses don’t want to be moving locations and dealing with the often complicated rules and regulations of renting out a space.
‘Building their own Big Brother house will remove any risk. It’ll mean they can pretty much do whatever they want.’
Producers will choose from a shortlist of three locations while considering the general layout and aesthetic of the new Big Brother compound.
The source added: ‘It’s important to them that they put their own stamp on it while still giving plenty of nostalgia for long-time fans to enjoy.’
Possibility: Kate Lawler, pictured out in London on Wednesday evening, is open to taking a hosting role on the soon to be revived reality TV show Big Brother
No chance: Former Big Brother host Emma Willis has ruled herself out of returning to the show
It is the latest in a series of departures from the original format, with former long-term host and fan favourite Emma Willis confirming she will not return for the revival.
Ex-housemate Kate Lawler has since thrown her hat into the ring, twenty years after finding fame on the reality TV show in 2002.
Speaking to Stephen Mulhern on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, she said: ‘Obviously I’m not going to say no to hosting Big Brother, but it depends on what the producers want- whether they want to keep that nostalgia or have something new.
‘I would like to host it with Alison Hammond. I think that would be fun.’
Popular: This Morning host Alison Hammond is currently 2/1 with Sky Bet to be the new presenter
Old times: Like Kate, Alison also found fame on the 2002 series of Big Brother
Emma Willis was an instant hit with fans after stepping in as host in 2013, a role she maintained until the show was finally axed by Channel 5 some five years later, in 2018.
But she has ruled out reprising her role, insisting a new era deserves a new host.
She told Radio Times: ‘You know, I loved my time on the show, and I very much kind of said goodbye to it back then because we thought it was over. I don’t tend to go back. I like to move forward.
‘I think it’s right. It’s starting again, it’s got a new home – it should have a new host.’
‘They won’t be social media influencers’: ITV bosses promise Big Brother will be ‘nothing like Love Island’ and will stay true to its roots (Jade Goody pictured on the show in 2002)
24/7: The experiment captured the hearts of millions, who could even tune in to the 24h live feed during the night
This Morning host Alison Hammond – who also found fame on the 2002 series – is currently 2/1 with Sky Bet to be the new presenter.
Last week it was reported she was at the top of producer’s lists to follow in the footsteps of Davina McCall, Brian Dowling and Emma in fronting the show.
A source said: ‘Alison is top of the list to present next year’s Big Brother. Execs think she’s exactly what the show needs. She’s energetic, fun, relatable and she was on the show, so she knows it inside out.’
An ITV spokesperson insisted no decisions have been made as yet.
They said: ‘All suggestions surrounding the host are pure speculation and absolutely no decisions have been made at this early stage.’
All stars: The show started as a social experiment in 2000 and went on to become a firm fixture of popular culture (series one winner Craig Phillips seen with Davina McCall in 2000)
According to The Mirror TV bosses promise that the reboot will feature everything viewers loved about the original series and ‘won’t be like Love Island’.
A source told the publication: ‘There will be a diverse casting across a range of ages, which is what made so special. It won’t be like Love Island, where the contestants are all young social media influencer types – they want ‘all walks of life.
‘There will absolutely be no outside influence – just like in the original series – so they won’t get a day off every week like they do in the villa.
‘It will have everything viewers came to love about the retro series, with nominations, a public vote and live evictions, but they want it to appeal to a new generation’.
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