Updated: Jun 29
Big Brother a Dutch TV show which caught the British imagination and birthed reality TV and even the celebrity obsessed culture Britain had in the 2000s with Celeb BB.
BB use to make stars of its contestants and got the British press and gossip columns talking, but now in 2020 BB is very much a tired show that had an extended life on two different channels getting less than a million people watching it.
Big Brother was a cultural phenomenon when it was launched on Channel 4 in 2000, as ten people entered a house built on a disused piece on land in Bow, London. At its peak BB 3 got an average of 5.8 Million but the last Big Brother on Channel 5 averaged around 1 Million viewers.
Why then would I value a Big Brother return, well first off it’s not returning to a main TV channel so no BBC, ITV 1, Channel 4 or Channel 5 but it could return to a smaller digital channel such as an ITV 2 or E4 heck throw in 5Star or Sky One.
As we’ve seen with Big Brother best shows ever on E4 the show fronted by original host Davina McCall has achieved on E4 similar ratings to what the main show achieved in its final run on Channel 5.
The key to Big Brother being a successful show is not in getting million watching it, it would be going after a key audience demographic 16-34. Within this age bracket there are less people watching TV but the shows they are watching tend to be reality TV shows, Love Island being one of the biggest shows for this audience demo 1.2 million watched the most recent series. But also look at the Big Brother with social media aka The Circle which had a 17.3% overnight share of the 16-34 demo.
But what could be done with the format to make it a must watch series? This is where we introduce the newly rebooted Big Brother Australia which has been challenged by Seven Network at attracting a younger audience. The show on its return became the number one show across all demos in Australia according to the West Australian newspaper (Although they own Seven so take it with a pinch of salt).
What’s different about BBAU compared with BBUK? They (BBAU) have opted to adopt the American Big Brother format which combines Big Brother with another reality TV show hit in Survivor. This means that the public don’t vote to evict, the housemates do and the power to nominate is determined through a series of challenges (tasks) and whoever wins gets to nominate. This format hasn’t been used in BBUK and could revamp the show by adding this dynamic and more game playing element.
There is another direction Big Brother could go but it would make the show over reliant on gimmicks, such as a Big Brother dating format, eight single men, eight single women put them in a house and see what happens. You could do a Big Brother focused entirely on careers so a Big Brother with only lawyers or doctors not wanna be celebrities.
In reality it doesn’t look like any of this is going to happen, the most likely scenario which is being reported is a return of Celebrity Big Brother to E4 with Davina has host, which she said she would be up for doing on a the June 24th edition of the Scott Mills show on Radio 1.
Endemol have since denied this to be the case saying that “they’re not in talks in regards to a Big Brother revival” which was reported by the Daily Star the newspaper that broke the news BB was getting axed by Channel 5.
If BB doesn’t return it look like we’ve at least enjoyed its best shows ever well just the Channel 4 ones because well let’s forget about the other eight years and the other channel.