The Voice and a Beeb backlash over the show's plummeting viewing figures
19:47 GMT, 24 May 2012
With audience figures plummeting, its ‘superstar coaches’ unhappy and a string of on-air gaffes, the 25 million talent show The Voice is fast turning into a major embarrassment for the BBC.
Now I hear there’s growing fury within the Corporation’s own entertainment department about the show, which will cause more headaches for BBC1 controller Danny Cohen.
Key staff members say the huge funds committed to The Voice will limit the chances of a new big budget British entertainment show being launched on the Beeb in the near future.
Embarrassment: BBC staff are said to be unhappy about the amount of money spent on The Voice as viewing figures continue to drop
The cost of The Voice — co-hosted by Holly Willoughby and featuring Sir Tom Jones and Jessie J (pictured) as coaches — has been taken from the BBC’s annual entertainment budget.
While that’s good news for drama producers, who were concerned their funding could be hit by the struggling show, it means the ability to launch new entertainment programmes is ‘seriously limited’.
An angry BBC entertainment source tells me: ‘It’s hard to see how we can make a new show of the same calibre as Strictly Come Dancing with so much money being spent on The Voice.
BBC1 Controller Danny Cohen signed a two-year deal for The Voice
‘We have been working on a lot of new ideas, but there isn’t the budget for another show with big production values right now.’
Strictly, which the entertainment department devised, earns the BBC tens of millions of pounds a year, because foreign versions are made, including the U.S.’s Dancing With The Stars.
However, The Voice is based on a Dutch format owned by reality TV pioneer John de Mol, who launched Big Brother. Mr Cohen is unable to ditch the show after this series, as he signed a two-year deal.
A BBC spokesman insisted The Voice would return, and that there is still a timeslot for another entertainment show. He added the programme had been the most successful Saturday night launch in a decade, so the 25 million was not wasted.
But with ratings below seven million BBC chiefs hope for a boost this weekend as the Eurovision Song Contest will be shown afterwards.
James is one man with two jobs
He’s the toast of Broadway following his career-changing Tony nomination for the starring role in riotous comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.
But an exhausted James Corden tells me he’s working overtime to finish the script for his new BBC comedy.
Working overtime: James Corden as Francis Henshall in the hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors
I caught up with the Gavin And Stacey star at New York’s Neil Simon Theatre after he got yet another standing ovation.
He said: ‘There are eight performances a week, so I’m exhausted. I’m the headliner on the show, so I don’t have an understudy and never miss a performance.
'From 10am every day I spend six hours writing my new comedy, as the scripts are due. It’s a 16-hour day.’
James’s time is also taken up with the campaigning commitments that come with his acting nomination for next month’s Tony Awards.
But the new dad insists: ‘It’s all worth it. I’m loving New York.’
X Factor guest judge Geri Halliwell with Gary Barlow, Dermot O'Leary, Tulisa and Louis Walsh
X Factor producers are banking on a long-running rivalry between Louis Walsh and its likely new judge Geri Halliwell to spice up the show.
Geri was drafted in as a last-minute replacement for Kelly Rowland, when talks to bring back former judge Dannii Minogue failed.
My source says: ‘Louis and Geri worked together on Popstars: The Rivals ten years ago and clashed.
‘Geri always speaks her mind and is never prepared to back down.
‘The dynamic between them could be very fiery.’
After a poorly received guest stint in 2010, X Factor producers said Geri wouldn’t be back. But their lack of back-up options gave them few choices.
I predict she’ll be a strong addition to the panel.
If you thought swivel chair auditions were limited to The Voice, think again. Former Stars In Your Eyes presenter Cat Deeley (left) is to front a new U.S. celebrity dating show — The Choice. Talks are already underway to bring the show here.
Presenter: Cat Deeley will be hosting a new U.S. celebrity dating show The Choice
The concept will see stars host blind auditions for members of the public, competing to win a date with them. The twist is, the stars have their backs turned on aspiring dates.
Britain’s Got Talent stand-in judge Carmen Electra and teen singing heart-throb Joe Jonas are among the stars who will appear in the U.S. show.
They may have started out on a TV talent show, but boyband One Direction are now big business in Hollywood.
I’m told talks of a film starring the band — Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan — are advancing quickly.
I hear British filmmaker Ben Winston, who worked with Gary Barlow on upcoming TV feature — On Her Majesty’s Service — is to meet U.S. bosses to discuss the project.
My source says: ‘There’s the same hype around the band as there was around The Beatles.’