ITV attempts to steal 'The Voice' before BBC signs three-year deal
Published 14/10/2015 | 07:47
ITV has attempted to secure the rights to The Voice by offering to pay £11m, the price currently paid by the BBC for the hit talent show.
However, the BBC is set to sign a three-year deal which will see the show remain at the BBC for 2017-2019.
This is despite the fact that the BBC has been under pressure from the government to shake up its programming output.
A source within the BBC said it "would not get into a bidding war" with rival broadcasters over the singing competition, deemed the corporation's answer to ITV's The X Factor.
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has already ordered a root-and-branch examination of what service licence fee payers receive.
He acknowledged the public demand for entertainment, but questions have been raised about whether the BBC will be able to justify paying premiums for the likes of Saturday night programming such as The Voice, whose celebrity judges have included crooner Tom Jones, pop star Rita Ora and hit-maker will.i.am.
A BBC spokesman said: "It is incorrect to say the BBC has axed The Voice and we are in negotiations about its future."
It came as the Mirror reported the BBC would ditch the show over its £55 million cost (over its 5 year run).
A BBC source said: "We love The Voice and want to keep it, but we are not getting into a bidding war for it."
The public service broadcaster has previously launched a defence of popular programming like The Voice and The Great British Bake Off, saying that licence fee payers expect the BBC to "deliver entertainment".
In "an evidence-based response" to Mr Whittingdale's green paper on its future, the corporation hit back at whether it should have a more "precisely targeted" mission in terms of its output.
This week, Rona Fairhead - chairman of the BBC Trust which governs the corporation - told the Lords' Communications Committee that the BBC should provide a "universal service" that broadly serves the UK rather than striving to do "everything for everybody".
Ms Fairhead said consultations with the public demonstrated the need for value for money, and that the licence fee model was deemed the best way to achieve this, rather than through corporate advertising and direct government funding.
She said previous input from the public resulted in a focus on "distinctive drama" on BBC One, citing the television adaptation of Hilary Mantel's historical drama Wolf Hall as an example of high-quality output.
ITV now owns Wall to Wall, the company which makes The Voice, a hugely popular show which pulls in up to eight million viewers each week.