Big Brother 9 could last until May or be cut short

With the writers’ strike essentially over, CBS will still debut Big Brother 9 tomorrow, but how long the season lats may depend upon how long the network needs it to fill time or how well a winter season does in the ratings.

New episodes of series aren’t expected to begin airing until April or even May. With 16 paired contestants and one pair going home every week and two pairs left at the end, the new season could actually be over in just eight weeks, or earlier if there’s a double elimination week. That would make it conclude just in time for new episodes of scripted shows to debut. But the show could also break up the pairs and keep the show on until the end of May.

While executive producer Allison Grodner would admit that forcing the newly matched couples to share the same bed won’t work if everyone is okay with it (“If everyone accepts this, it wouldn’t be interesting.”), she refused to tell the Sun-Sentinel’s Tom Jicha when the season would end, instead just repeating their now-ancient tagline/catchphrase: “You know Big Brother. Expect the unexpected.”

That’s because she doesn’t know when the series will end, and Jicha examines the possibilities: “If the elimination-by-couples blueprint is adhered to until the end, Big Brother could have an uncommonly brief run of six or seven weeks, about half the usual,” he writes. “One possible explanation for the potential quick ending is CBS is leaving its options open, in case ratings that have been solid for summer outings don’t measure up during the regular Nielsen season. On the other hand, if things go well, the dual eliminations could be scrapped and the run could be extended almost to the end of the season in May.”

Behind the scenes of Big Brother: 16 players, 54 cameras, 200 crew [Sun-Sentinel]