ITV Strikes Deal for 'The Voice' U.K.
The singing competition's fifth season will be the last one to air on the BBC before its move to the commercial network, which also will launch 'The Voice Kids.'
ITV has made it official, announcing Monday that it has struck a deal to air The Voice U.K., which has so far broadcast on British public broadcaster BBC.
The BBC recently said that its upcoming fifth season of the singing competition would be the last airing on the broadcaster.
"The BBC is incredibly proud of The Voice, but the fifth [season], which starts in January, will be our last," Mark Linsey, acting director of BBC Television, said at the time. "We always said we wouldn't get into a bidding war or pay inflated prices to keep the show, and it's testament to how the BBC has built the program up — and established it into a mainstay of the Saturday night schedule — that another broadcaster has poached it."
He didn't say which other network would air the show in Britain in the future, but ITV previously acquired the show's producer Talpa and was considered the favorite.
"ITV today confirmed that award-winning singing talent competition The Voice is coming to the network in 2017," ITV said in a statement Monday. It said it has struck a three-year deal for ITV1 for The Voice along with a three-season commitment for an ITV2 spinoff show, plus a two-season deal for The Voice Kids.
The British version of the show is made by production firm Wall to Wall based on the Talpa format. ITV also airs Simon Cowell's The X Factor, which has had weaker ratings this season, and Britain's Got Talent.
The fifth season, which launches in early 2016, will feature Boy George and Paloma Faith as coaches on the show, alongside will.i.am and Ricky Wilson.
The government, when launching a review of the BBC's mandate earlier this year, mentioned The Voice as an acquired format that may not make sense for the public broadcaster to continue doing in the future. "This was a singing talent show developed overseas, bought by the BBC at a reported cost of around £20 million and similar to ITV's X Factor," it said. "This is in contrast to Strictly Come Dancing, which was developed by the BBC in-house and then sold abroad."
"The Voice has become a global entertainment hit since its Dutch premiere in 2010, now counting close to 65 local versions airing in 180 countries, while The Voice Kids has almost 30 local adaptations," the companies said. "The record-breaking show is currently being watched on every continent, attracting more than 300 million viewers, and has over 55 million Facebook fans and more than 10 million Twitter followers."
Said Peter Fincham, director of television at ITV: "ITV is the natural home of big entertainment so we are thrilled that The Voice and The Voice Kids are both joining our family alongside brilliant shows like The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent, Saturday Night Takeaway and I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here."
Said Elaine Bedell, ITV director of entertainment and comedy: "From the compelling blind auditions, through to the nail-biting battle rounds, knockouts and live shows, The Voice has become a worldwide sensation, and we are very much looking forward to its arrival on ITV in 2017."
And John de Mol, Talpa founder and creator of The Voice, said: "We are delighted that The Voice has found a new home at ITV. With the addition of The Voice Kids, we are excited about working with ITV in 2017 to develop and expand The Voice experience for the U.K. audience after completing what we think will be a fantastic upcoming season on the BBC," which he called "a great partner."