The 37 year history of Neighbours may be coming to an end unless a new buyer can be found.
Following a tabloid report over the weekend in the U.K., it has been confirmed that Australian soap opera Neighbours is being dropped by Channel 5 this summer. The news was confirmed in a statement from a Channel 5 representative saying, “Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 beyond this summer. It’s been a much-loved part of our schedule for more than a decade, and we’d like to thank the cast, Fremantle and all of the production team for their fantastic work on this iconic series.”
Neighbours launched in 1985 on Seven Network in Australia, but was canceled after one year. Network 10 picked it up beginning in 1986, and that same year BBC One picked it up for distribution in the U.K. It remained there in 2008, and then moved over to Channel 5.
The decision to drop Neighbours does not come from low ratings, but appears to be a contract negotiation issue. The series is Channel 5’s most watched program drawing approximately 1.4M a day across its two airings. Comparatively, the series draws only 100,000 viewers a day in Australia. This has led to Channel 5 providing the majority of the money to fund the series for several years now.
Fremantle Media executive producer Jason Herbison told The Sunday Morning Herald, “Our audience remains steady and [Australian partner] Channel 10 would love the show to continue if we could find another broadcast partner to replace [Channel 5]. These discussions are ongoing, however, there is no new broadcaster at the moment and production must end, effectively resting the show.”
Odds seem high that another buyer can be found. 1.4M daily viewers is a difficult number for a lot of companies to pass up.
Neighbours has served as the launching board for some of today’s biggest Australian stars including Kylie Minogue, Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce, and more.