Speaking at the network's Autumn press launch this morning, C4 director of television Kevin Lygo said: "We will not be continuing with Big Brother. Next year will be the last series for Channel 4. There will be a celebrity version, plus the regular one. We've decided it's time to move on."
Lygo added that the broadcaster is now thinking about programmes to replace Big Brother in 2011 but acknowledged that it would be "a challenge for the commercial side of the business".
The current series of Big Brother has been its lowest-rated to date, with an average of around 2 million viewers watching each night.
"Big Brother is still profitable for Channel 4 despite its reduced popularity and there could have been the option to renew it on more favourable terms," Lygo explained. "That’s what a purely commercial broadcaster would have done, but Channel 4 has a public remit to champion new forms of creativity."
Of the estimated £50 million budget freed up by the cancellation of Big Brother, Channel 4 pledged to invest £20 million into new "event" dramas such as Red Riding and "quirky series" for younger audiences, such as Skins.
C4 head Julian Bellamy described the show as "the voice of a generation", adding: "It will be sorely missed, [but] we're going to go out with a bang next year."
Big Brother production company Endemol is now expected to take the show to another broadcaster in 2011. ITV has previously expressed interest in acquiring the rights, although Five and Sky1 are also potential candidates.