Sam Faiers, Kirk Norcross, Harry Derbidge, Maria Fowler and Lauren Pope will allegedly be cut from the ITV2 programme to make way for new stars.
"There is a big TOWIE shake-up happening for series four," a source told The Sun. "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 Derbidge and Maria Fowler."
Explaining the TOWIE cull, the insider continued: "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."
Faiers and Derbidge have both previously expressed an interest in quitting TOWIE, while Norcross was linked to a role on Channel 5 contest The Bachelor last month.
James 'Arg' Argent has also confirmed that he is "in talks" to front his own show, which would result in his exit from TOWIE.
Mark Wright quit the show to star in I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here following Amy Childs's departure for Celebrity Big Brother in July.
Watch the Only Way Is Essex cast in the video for their festive single 'Last Christmas' below: