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UK's Channel 5 Cancels Australian Soap Neighbours



British Channel 5 has made headlines by announcing it will no longer fund Australian soap opera Neighbours. But broadcasting exec Michael Grade posited that another UK network might end up airing the show, Deadline reports. 

Production is funded jointly by ViacomCBS-owned Channel 5 and Australia's Network 10. The latter partly funds the show for its channel 10 Peach, but it will not pay the full cost.

The soap will stop airing in six months if its producer, Fremantle Media, does not find another UK co-commissioner. Fremantle will now have to pitch the soap. 

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Ex-BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 executive Grade, who has been linked to possibly buying Channel 4 if it's privatized, said he thinks Neighbours will find a buyer because it is a venerable brand with a built-in audience.

Channel 5 started airing Neighbours in 2008 and has been providing the majority of funding in recent years as Aussie viewership has declined. Now, the network is focusing more on original dramas.

A Channel 5 spokesperson stated:

Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 beyond this summer. We recognise that there will be disappointment about this decision, however our current focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama, which has strong appeal for our viewers.