'Big Brother stars wanted far too much,' claimed Hello!

Heat: paid small amount for Jade

Hello! magazine was not prepared to meet the demands of the stars of Big Brother even though it risked losing sales, it emerged this week.

Over the weekend Hello! bid for exclusives with two housemates – thought to be series winner Kate Lawler and Alex Sibley – but editor Maria Trkulja said their demands were "far too high".

"The main reason we are not having a Big Brother cover this week is that I would rather spend my budget on something else," she told Press Gazette.

"We did attempt to get an exclusive with two of the stars but the money involved was far too high and I did not think the prices were worth it." Asked if Hello! was likely to suffer from loss of sales as a result, Trkulja said: "Possibly, yes, but I am looking at the long term. Big Brother is one week’s sales and I have to think with my budget. I can’t spend it all at once." Now magazine editor Jane Ennis, who also branded the demands "ridiculous", said: "I was invited to go in with a bid for Jade Goody where the News of The World would run it first, The Sun second and I was expected to run it third. I don’t think so.

"The word ‘exclusive’ gets bandied around for things which are third- and fourth-hand. We are all victims of our budgets."

She added: "It is a bad thing that we all start bidding huge sums of money against each other for people who really have nothing about them – they are just people who agreed to be locked up in the same room for a few weeks. It’s madness but as long as the fascination continues, we’ll carry on."

In the end Now bought second rights to a Sunday Mirror exclusive with fireman Jonny Regan.

Heat editor Mark Frith said that, unlike the red-tops, he paid a "very small amount" for the first magazine access to Jade. Heat also ran the first magazine ‘interview’ with Kate from the press conference after the Big Brother finale.

The News of The World and The Sun are said to have spent almost £500,000 on their exclusive with Jade. OK! paid a reputed £300,000 for an exclusive with male model Alex, parts of which also appeared in the Daily and Sunday Express.

OK! editor Nic McCarthy said: "We wanted Alex because all the Big Brother guys do well for us. We got who we wanted."

By Ruth Addicott

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