TOWIE To Become Weekly Soap?

TV bosses have decided that The Only Way Is Essex has the potential to become a semi-soap in the same fashion as show’s like Casualty and Holby City on BBC.

ITV2 chiefs are thought to be considering plans to move the show to a 48 week run-time, meaning it would only be off the air for a month a year.

The first two series were made up of 12 episodes and ran twice a week for six weeks. The third series – which is due to air this autumn – will follow the same format, but it seems the post-Christmas fourth offering could be extensively extended.

Execs are hunting for new characters to bump up the drama so there is enough to last for soap-length runs.

“Everyone is still following their bust-ups and romances anyway so it feels like the cameras should still be there to capture everything,” one insider told The Sun.

“The gang would have to be up for it and a deal has to be struck with the producers. But the expectation is that the stars would all want to do it.”

The reality series has become ITV2’s biggest hit ever since it was launched last year.