The BBC has owned the rights to the talent show format since 2012
Saturday night prime-time hit The Voice will not return to the BBC in 2017 after being bought by ITV, it was announced this weekend.
Given a fall in ratings the current The X Factor series, in which it has consistently lost out to the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, rumours are circulating about the future of ITV's flagship talent show. The news has led many to wonder if The Voice - also a singing contest - will replace Simon Cowell's hit series, which has been running since 2004.
The BBC's acting director of television Mark Linsey said: "We always said we wouldn’t get into a bidding war or pay inflated prices to keep the show, and it’s testament to how the BBC has built the programme up – and established it into a mainstay of the Saturday night schedule – that another broadcaster has poached it.”
The show has been broadcast on the BBC since 2012, when it won the rights in a £20million deal, a decision that was criticised by the culture secretary John Whittingdale, who expressed doubts over that use of licence fee payers' money.
Earlier this year, ex-judge on The Voice Rita Ora was "poached" by Simon Cowell and joined ITV as a judge on The X Factor.