After weeks of rumours, ITV has officially confirmed that they have secured exclusive rights to The Voice, poaching the format away from its current UK home, the BBC. The show’s fifth season, which is set to debut early next year, will be the last to air on BBC One, before the format segues to ITV in 2017.
ITV’s deal runs for three years, from 2017-2019, and alongside taking the rights to the main series, the commerical broadcaster has also commissioned an ITV2 spin-off and children’s version of the format. The as-yet untitled ITV2 spin-off has received a blind three-season order, while The Voice Kids, has been picked up for two seasons.
“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 ITV’s Director of Television Peter Fincham.
Based on a Dutch format, The Voice UK first debuted on the BBC in 2012 after they secured the rights in a deal with John de Mol’s Talpa Media in 2011. In fact ITV had been pursuing the rights at the same time and the loss was viewed as a big one. Following that, the commercial broadcaster has been vocal that the BBC should not have acquired The Voice and that they would be looking to poach the format when the Beeb’s contract expired.
The chances of that happening were boosted when ITV took full control of Talpa Media earlier this year. Still it was not a fait accompli, as Talpa operates as an independent entity under the ITV umbrella. BBC execs had been bullish on retaining rights to The Voice, but ITV, intent on poaching the show, increased their cash offer and agreed to commission a pair of spin-offs.
That offer is what swung them the show, as John de Mol has been keen to expand the Voice franchise and the BBC refused to be drawn into a costly bidding war due to the current political climate and their on-going budgetary issues. The BBC offically pulled out of the running earlier this month when the BBC’s Acting Director of Television Mark Linsey issued a statement conceding that they had in-fact lost the show to a “rival broadcaster”.