The channel wants to buy Endemol Shine, valued at £3billion, which has produced some of telly’s biggest hitters, many of which are on rival channels.
Its portfolio includes BBC hits MasterChef with John Torode and Gregg Wallace, gritty drama Peaky Blinders with Cillian Murphy and also teatime quiz Pointless with Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman.
Viewers are sure to be dismayed at the prospect of shows they enjoy being disrupted by ad breaks if they move from the Beeb.
Endemol Shine is also behind Channel 4’s robot drama Humans along with reality shows The Island With Bear Grylls and Hunted.
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And probably the most famous show on its books is Channel 5’s Big Brother, which was axed last week by the station.
Bosses at ITV are said to be in a race against a number of other broadcasters for Endemol Shine, and experts believe the competition could justify a £3bn price tag.
A source said: “The BBC and other channels will be watching closely.
“They might lose some of their key shows. And Big Brother might find a new place on ITV now.”
BBC/REMARKABLE PART OF ENDEMOL SHINE GROUP/JACK BARNES(Pic: BBC/REMARKABLE PART OF ENDEMOL SHINE GROUP/JACK BARNES)
“We never comment on speculation”ITV spokesman
This would not be the first time ITV has dug deep into its pockets. In 2015, it bought Talpa Media for £355million.
This is the production company behind The Voice, which was airing on BBC One at the time. Soon after the sale, the show moved to ITV.
An ITV spokesman said last night: “We never comment on speculation.”
Meanwhile Channel 5 has decided to axe all Saturday night episodes of the last ever series of Big Brother.
Ratings for the Saturday BB shows have never been good.