If Broadcast (link requires registration) is to be believed, it looks like the BBC are set to lose the bidding war over Neighbours.
If this does happen, what are the chances of Neighbours being replaced with a half-hour of home-grown drama? Pretty slim, I think, and it makes me sad, particularly as the Beeb were apparently looking to make the Aussie soap into a co-production.
To get anywhere near the ratings that Neighbours was getting in that slot, I think they’ll have to put in a game or chat show to compete. And the £70,000 they were reputedly willing to spend per episode will not be going into something that gives UK writers a chance to practise their craft, and earn a living. Except for the writers who write the links for game and chat shows, of course: how would I go about getting a gig like that?
EDIT, to add: I don't blame anyone here. The producers of Neighbours are allowed to ask any price they feel the market is able to pay, the Beeb have the right to decide the maximum amount of public money they can spend, and if another channel is willing to pay more, then so be it. It's just that I like having that half-hour of drama there, when every other channel is showing entertainment formats. And I can't think of any drama that could be moved into that slot that would do as well as Neighbours. But who can predict what will happen? I hope to be pleasantly surprised by the schedulers.