Could the BBC Lose 'The Great British Bake Off'?

Great British Bake Off 2015
"The Great British Bake Off" judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, and presenters Mel and Sue. The BBC this week lost the flagship show to Channel 4. BBC

The BBC is at risk of losing one of its most successful shows, The Great British Bake Off, as its production deal with creators Love Productions nears renewal.

The Guardian reported that commercial U.K. broadcasters including ITV, Sky and Channel 4 could steal the program from the publicly-funded broadcaster if talks for a new deal fail to prove fruitful. The current contract is set to expire after the sixth season of Bake Off airs this summer.

The popular reality competition—featuring Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood—first aired on BBC Two in 2010 before moving to BBC One in 2014 after proving popular with viewers. The season six finale in October was 2015's highest-rated television event in the U.K. as 13 million viewers saw Nadiya Hussain crowned champion.

Love Productions is reportedly seeking an increased fee for the rights to Bake Off, which has steadily grown in the ratings year-on-year. Industry publication Broadcast reports the production firm is hoping BBC reclassifies the show—moving it from the factual programming department to its entertainment department, allowing for a bigger budget.

In addition to Bake Off, Love Productions also makes spin-off show Bake Off: Creme de la Creme, The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throw Down for the BBC. On Tuesday, the corporation announced it has commissioned a two-part cookery travel program hosted by Hussain, to be produced by Love.

The BBC has already lost one of its most lucrative television properties, The Voice, which will move to ITV in 2017 after five seasons on BBC One. The show's rights came up for renewal in 2015 and the broadcaster—which has been been hampered by budget cuts—felt it could not "pay inflated prices to keep the show" in a bidding war with rivals.

The BBC and Love Productions have been contacted for comment.