UK fans petition as talks stall on Neighbours fee

Channel 5 wants the soap, but its US parent company is playing hardball.

According to UK reports, negotiation talks on Neighbours have stalled between Channel 5 and FremantleMedia.

While Channel 5 is keen to retain the series, the problem lays with its parent US company Viacom looking at the costs whilst failing to recognise the sentiment associated with the show in the UK.

Neighbours was screened by the BBC and saw around 21 million viewers tuning in at its peak in 1990. It switched to Channel 5 nine years ago where it still airs twice daily.

If a license deal attracts a lower rate, and that may be a best case scenario, it isn’t clear how it would impact on cast size and production.

If Channel 5 drops the show it would need to find a new home in order to survive.

TEN lowered its Australian licence fee for the show when it moved to ELEVEN. It’s rating around 200,000 in Overnight numbers in Australia, not enough to justify its considerable size and costs. But the UK’s love for the show, where generations have grown up watching the show, has kept it ticking over.

Ironically, this week the show features London-filmed storylines surrounding Toadie (Ryan Moloney) and Dee (Madeleine West).

UK fans are swinging into action with an online petition already attracting over 6,400 signatures.

FremantleMedia declined to comment.

Source: Mirror

7 Responses

  1. Just for those interested… when the BBC ‘lost’ the rights to Neighbours around 10 years ago it was widely reported the production company wanted a substantial increase in fees, despite ratings having dropped quite a lot from the soap’s most popular period – around the Kylie and Jason era. The Beeb probably understandably baulked at being asked to stump up more cash for a show that was already past its peak in ratings terms. Ten years on, while still popular in slot/daytime terms, its ratings have fallen further so it’s not impossible the new owners of C5 may be about to pull out just like the BBC did.

    Given Neighbours has for a long time been effectively bankrolled by its UK output deal, you’d have to assume it would have a very uncertain commercial future if it didn’t have the C5 (or alternative) in place.

  2. I don’t think it will go away with so many episodes in existence. I’m not sure about location work in London though as UK audiences like the Australian lifestyle, sun, surf etc. Cold and wet would definitely finish the show off.

  3. I wouldn’t worry too much about it as it’s a big enough cheese in the U.K. that it will find a home if Channel 5 won’t accommodate it. Worst case scenario is that without U.K. funding, Neighbours is likely to face the axe (unless the rest of the world’s markets are enough to make it financially viable).

    I’m surprised that we don’t have more long-running Australian shows that are being produced for a predominantly international audience. Neighbours is such an unusual anomaly in that it would have been axed *years ago* if the success of the show rested mainly on Australian ratings.

  4. This news is a bit crazy, because if I remember right it was the BBC who were airing it for so long but then channel 5 came along with a ton of money to get it on their channel instead, and so it left the BBC.

    Now channel 5 can’t get their act together? Be interesting if it went back to the BBC.

    1. Channel 5 was owned by different people at the time. With the BBC facing massive funding cuts, I don’t know if they could justify such an expense, but fingers crossed if 5 does opt not to proceed, 4, ITV or Sky pick it up.

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