The BBC and Channel 4 are reportedly interested in a joint bid for UKTV, the channel provider that runs Dave, Gold and Watch.
The company is currently jointly owned by BBC Worldwide and Discovery, the latest in a string of partners that have worked alongside the BBC in the 25-year old business.
Discovery inherited its share as part of a £9 billion acquisition of Scripps. This is thought to have triggered a clause that would allow the BBC’s commercial arm to buy out its partner.
As was the case with the original venture with Thames/Pearson, the BBC allows UKTV access to its sizeable library to broadcast across its portfolio of channels, some shows receiving a second outing within days of their original broadcast. In recent years this has been enhanced by some of UKTV’s own productions such as Taskmaster and a revival of the BBC sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf.
Unlike other broadcasters Channel 4 is prevented from investing in programme production.