Big Brother presenter Emma Willis has dramatically addressed the news that Channel 5 has axed the show.
The surprising news was announced just hours before Big Brother's launch show aired on Friday night (September 14), when a Channel 5 spokesperson confirmed it would be scrapping the series after this current season finished.
"Big Brother viewers, this is Emma," the presenter opened up Friday's launch. "You still have 53 days to say your goodbyes. For one final time, Big Brother is coming to get you."
After the pre-roll intro, Emma more seriously spoke about Channel 5's decision and took a moment to thank the fans for keeping Big Brother alive across multiple channels for the past 18 years.
"As you may have heard today, this will be the last ever series of Big Brother on Channel 5," she said. "Our mission is to make it the biggest and best series yet, especially for you watching at home, and you who join us live because you're the ones who've kept us going for 18 years."
Earlier in the day, Bit on the Side presenter Rylan Clark-Neal shared a statement on Twitter to say that he was "saddened" to see Channel 5 cutting the franchise after the ratings success of the recent Celebrity Big Brother.
"It has been the biggest privilege being a housemate, a winner, and a host on my favourite show on the television," he tweeted.
"To work with Emma [Willis], Marcus [Bentley], and the amazing team on BOTS every day and have made friends for life, I'm truly the luckiest guy in the industry.
"I hope one day Big Brother will return, but my focus now as with the rest of the team is to make our last series the best yet."
There may be hope on that front. Production company Endemol Shine told Digital Spy earlier in the day on Friday that it wasn't giving up hope of finding Big Brother a new home.
"Whilst disappointed not to reach an agreement with Channel 5, the decision opens up a new chapter and we are excited about future possibilities for Big Brother in the UK," an Endemol representative said.
Big Brother continues on Sunday night (September 16) at 10pm on Channel 5.
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