TOWIE stars face the chop
Sam Faiers, Kirk Norcross, Maria Fowler, Harry Derbridge and Lauren Pope are to be axed from 'The Only Way Is Essex' in favour of a number of new faces
Sam Faiers, Kirk Norcross, Maria Fowler, Harry Derbridge and Lauren Pope are to be axed from 'The Only Way Is Essex'.
Bosses of the ITV1 show are planning a huge shake-up, which will see the five stars - who have appeared in the reality show since the first series - forced out in favour of new cast members due to their storylines coming to a "natural end".
Producers are already scouring Essex in the hope of finding fresh faces to appear on 'TOWIE' amid fears the upcoming fourth series - which hits screens in January - could be overshadowed be newer reality shows 'Desperate Scousewives' and 'Made In Chelsea'.
An insider told The Sun newspaper: "There is a big 'TOWIE' shake-up happening for series four. Bosses are keen to keep the format fresh. Producers have already been scouting for great people around Essex. "Kirk has been axed and won't be seen in the Christmas special. Others set to get the chop include Sam Faiers, Lauren Pope, Harry Derbridge and Maria Fowler.
"This is basically due to their storylines coming to a natural end and the fact that some of them are just not that popular with viewers. Producers are keen to make series four as exciting as possible. Series three was the highest rated so far and they're keen to build on that."
'TOWIE' bosses are keen to inject fresh talent into the show after main man Mark Wright quit last month to appear in 'I'm A Celebrity . Get Me Out Of Here!' and Amy Childs departed in the summer to feature on 'Celebrity Big Brother'.
Meanwhile, Kirk is being lined up to follow in the footsteps of rugby hunk Gavin Henson and become 'The Bachelor'.
A source recently said: "Kirk has been approached to join 'The Bachelor' on Channel 5. He's jumping at the chance to leave 'TOWIE' and do something more dynamic. He has an eye for the ladies and has been saying for a while it's time to find a nice girl and settle down.
"Kirk's been really successful with regard to money and business ventures, but has yet to find the perfect lady. After seeing how much fun Gavin had on the last series of 'The Bachelor', Kirk's well up for it."