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BBC to produce the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 after UK confirmed as host country

The 2018 Eurovision Song Contest was hosted by Portugal and won by Israel’s Netta Barzilai

UK pubcaster the BBC will produce next year’s edition of the Eurovision Song Contest after the UK was confirmed as the host country.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) invited the BBC to host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukrainian broadcaster UA: PBC.

Ukraine won this year’s contest but, due to the ongoing war in the country, the EBU decided it wouldn’t be possible for the event to be held there next year. The UK came second in this year’s contest.

The BBC, which has broadcasted Eurovision in the UK since 1956, said it will create and deliver a unique contest that reflects Ukraine’s victory this year as well as showcasing the UK’s vibrant music scene.

The bidding process to select the host city for the contest began this week, which the BBC is managing alongside the EBU.

The two semi-finals and grand final will be produced by BBC Studios, which was previously commissioned to produce Eurovision 2023 coverage before the UK was decided as the host country.

The BBC will also be seeking additional programming and content from producers across the market.

Kate Phillips, director of unscripted at the BBC, said: “We are honoured we have been asked to take on hosting duties for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine. Clearly the set of circumstances our colleagues find themselves in is not what we wanted but we will work with UA: PBC and the other participating broadcasters to deliver a special event that has glorious Ukraine at its heart.”

The announcement comes at a time when the BBC faces financial turmoil resulting from a funding gap created by a freeze to its licence fee and superinflation, including rising talent costs, in the media industry.

The broadcaster’s annual report earlier this year said UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries’ controversial move to freeze the annual licence fee at £159 for the next two years would cost it £285m (US$375m) by 2027/28.

These financing issues will raise concerns over how the BBC will be able to fund next year’s Eurovision, which costs millions to host. According to the BBC, Azerbaijan reportedly spent £48m on hosting the event in 2012.

A BBC spokesperson noted that the contest is “a coproduction of the host broadcaster and participating members of the EBU” and that “there are a number of funding options to be explored that will contribute towards delivering a fantastic event and great value for licence fee payers.”


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