Coronation Street's Stella Price will be left fighting for her life after being hit by a drunk driver.
The Rovers Return landlady - played by Michelle Collins - will be horrifically "mown down" by alcoholic Carla Connor (Alison King) as part of a shocking new storyline.
With more than a quarter of 'Coronation Street' fans having turned off since Michelle - who has been criticised for her dodgy Manchester accent - joined the ITV1 soap last month, show bosses are hoping the dramatic new plot will help the former 'EastEnders' actress to win over viewers.
An insider explained: "This storyline is Michelle's last chance to win viewers over. She will be mown down by Carla Connor, who drunkenly drives her car into Barlow's Bookies as a plea for help with her booze battle.
"Stella will be rushed to hospital and Leanne (Jane Danson) will realise she wants her mum to live and for them to have a relationship. If that doesn't get the figures up, there is no hope for her and they will kill her off at Christmas."
Meanwhile, it has been claimed executive producer Phil Collinson could also face the chop after failing to bag any awards for 'Corrie' at the National TV Awards, despite having splashed out on the expensive tram crash plot in honour of the soap's 25th anniversary.
The source added to The Sun newspaper: "Phil's position is fast becoming untenable. He's a talented guy who has a great career ahead of him, but 'Corrie' isn't the vehicle he should be driving.
"'EastEnders' swept the board at award shows when they celebrated their 25th anniversary last year but despite having such an expensive set-up for the tram crash, 'Corrie' couldn't even win the Best Soap prize at the National TV Awards.
"He will leave in 2012 - on set there is very little talk of anything else."
However, bosses have insisted they are satisfied with the work of both Phil and Michelle.
ITV's Natasha Bayford said: "ITV are extremely pleased with the work of Phil Collinson and his production team. The channel is also delighted with audience reaction to Stella's arrival on 'Coronation Street' and with the storylines planned in the coming months.
"Michelle Collins is a valued member of the 'Corrie' cast and we have fantastic storylines ahead for her character."