Independent broadcaster Channel 4 has reportedly stepped in to sign a deal for The Great British Bake Off, after the BBC failed to reach an agreement with Love Productions, the company which makes the popular baking programme.
The production company said negotiations over the hit TV series ground to a halt with the BBC after a final meeting on Monday (12 September). In an email sent out to its staff, the production company said: "Unfortunately we were unable to agree either a fair valuation, and nor were the BBC able to provide the necessary comfort for the future protection of such a distinctive and much-loved television series."
A three-year deal with Channel 4 was signed the same evening. The new series will air in 2017 with a celebrity version of the show, in aid of charity Stand Up To Cancer.
Channel 4 is believed to have offered a higher financial bid for Great British Bake Off after their negotiations with the BBC fell through. Jay Hunt, Channel 4's chief creative officer said in a BBC report: "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."
Richard McKerrow, Love Productions creative director 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."
Comedian Richard Osman tweeted about the rumoured identity of the new Bake Off host, suggesting it could be a former British PM.
The BBC is understood to have made an offer in the region of £15m over a three-year period, including spin-off shows, according to The Guardian. Sources believe that the move to Channel 4 could be worth somewhere in the region of £25m, including sponsorship deals.
The 2016 launch episode of Bake Off was the most-watched in the history of the show, with 10.34 million viewers.