EXCLUSIVE: Steve Regan, who oversees Big Brother for British broadcaster Channel 5, is on his way out of the Viacom-owned broadcaster. I understand that the company’s top entertainment commissioner is leaving the network and has been telling top-level execs in the UK. A number of producers at the recent Mip TV market in Cannes told me that Regan is no longer at Viacom’s Camden HQ.
Regan is one of the most senior entertainment buyers in the UK, having overseen Endemol Shine’s long-running reality series Big Brother since he joined C5, initially on secondment from MTV, in October 2015. He has also been responsible for a number of high-profile non-scripted formats, commissioning shows including Geordie Shore, the UK version of Jersey Shore, and Ex On The Beach, which has been remade in the U.S. by Purveyors of Pop and Entertainment One for MTV.
His departure comes at a critical time for Channel 5, which is in negotiations with 21st Century Fox-owned production group Endemol Shine over future seasons of Big Brother. The show has two seasons left to go as part of a three-year deal but last August Channel 5’s Director of Programmes Ben Frow publicly said that he’d “be much happier with a channel that did not have Big Brother on it”. The comments, made at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, were widely considered a negotiating tool as the two sides started to hammer out a deal. Regan’s exit will put pressure on Frow to make a decision on the future of the show on his own.
During his time at C5, he also commissioned reality format Make or Break?, which was produced by Viacom-owned Elephant House Studios, Knickbockerglory TV’s The Great Divide, which explored the generation gap in Britain today by bringing together controversial young and old figures, and panel show It’s Not Me, It’s You, fronted by Eamonn Holmes, Kelly Brook and Vicky Pattison.
Channel 5 isn’t confirming Regan’s departure publicly, but don’t expect Regan to return to Hawley Crescent anytime soon.