Richard Desmond to buy Five, plans OK! TV

Or it could be a terrestrial version of his porn channel Television X although that looks pretty unlikely.

The controversial media tycoon, who owns the Daily Express, Daily Star and celebrity magazine OK! as well as the aforementioned specialist television channel, is thought to be ahead in the ‘race’ to buy UK terrestrial channel Five from German owner RTL.

We say race but not too many parties seem to be interested, the other likely bidder at about £100m is Big Brother producer Endemol, searching for a UK channel to run its ghastly and never-ending Big Brother reality show.

Desmond, whatever you say about him (and we do) seems to have the knack of making money out of apparent lost causes although it’s open to debate whether or not the Express makes real money.

A television version of OK! might well succeed in celebrity-obsessed Britain.

Whether or not broadcast regulator Ofcom would look kindly on a channel designed to plug other products in the owner’s stable is debatable however.

But Desmond is a determined operator and if it’s a case of OK! TV, Big Brother TV or nothing (the closure of the channel) he might well succeed.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.