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Channel Four Just Bought ‘Bake Off’ For An Eye-Watering Amount Of Money

Channel Four has poached The Great British Bake Off, offering just about triple what the BBC were willing to pay to keep it.

Business Insider reports that negotiations between Love Productions (who make Bake Off) and the BBC had been ongoing all year, with a last-ditch meeting taking place yesterday. The BBC offered 15 million for the next three years, but Love Productions believed that their hugely popular show was worth a lot more.

They cut ties with the BBC, and signed a 75 million deal with Channel Four the same evening.

Negotiations with Bake Off’s presenters (Sue Perkins and MelGiedroyc) and judges (Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood) arereportedly yet to take place.

In a statement, Love Productions said:

“We believe we’ve found the perfect new home for Bake Off.

It’s a public service, free-to-air broadcaster for whom Love Productions have produced high-quality and highly successful programmes for more than a decade.

It’s tremendously exciting to have found a broadcaster who we know will protect and nurture The Great British Bake Off for many years to come.”

Channel Four bosses were equally enthused, telling BBC News:

“Channel 4 is very proud to be the new home for The Great British Bake Off.

I’m delighted we have been able to partner with the hugely talented team at Love Productions to keep this much loved show on free-to-air television.”

Obviously, the BBC were disappointed. Before the deal with Channel Four were finalised, they reportedly urged Love Productions to change their minds, writing in a statement that they “made a verystrong offer to keep the show but we are a considerable distance apart on the money”:

“The BBCs resources are not infinite.GBBO is a quintessentially BBC programme. We hope Love Productions change their mind so that Bake Off can stay ad-free on BBC One.”

In light of Love Productions not changing their mind, and signing a new contract the very same day that they ended things with the BBC, ex-controllerLorraine Heggessey told Newsnight:

“In my day there were often tough negotiations over programme budgets, but in the end there was an unwritten rule that you did not walk away and take your show somewhere else.

It sounds like Love Productions were going to go [to a rival broadcaster] anyway, that’s what worries me because the BBC has invested a huge amount of licence fee payers’ money in growing this show.”

It’s true – broadcasting seven seasons of Bake Off (starting in 2010) ,the BBC has made itone of the most popular shows on British television (over 15 million of us tuned in to see Nadiya win in the final episode of last year).

In any case, it’s not just the BBC who’s disappointed with the move:

John Whaite – who won Bake Off 2012 – was less concerned. He told ITV News:

“Channel 4 are not going to mess around with its format and if they do they’ll be stupid.

I think everyone is going to have a very close eye on what they do with the show.

If they do anything, if they make one wrong step, I think it could be catastrophic. So I’m not concerned, I think it will remain the Bake Off.”

Alongside committing to three years of Bake Off, Channel Four have also agreed to produce a celebrity version of the show for Stand Up To Cancer, in 2017.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Images via BBC

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