Big Brother UK cancelled as US version grows

The UK version of Big Brother will be cancelled after 11 seasons, even as the US version that debuted around the same time is getting more popular in its 11th season, defying typical TV trends.

Channel 4 announced that the 11th series in 2010 will be the show’s last on the network, because the current series “has been averaging around 2 million viewers, down a third year-on-year,” while the show “was hauling in audiences of up to eight million in 2002, the year [Jade] Goody was a contestant,” The Guardian reports. The paper notes that “from 2002-2006, Big Brother generated £88m of revenue a year, of which about £68m was profit.” However, “another broadcaster [is] expected to step in to pick up the rights from Endemol.”

The ratings slide hasn’t been happening this summer in the US, as CBS’ version is defying typical television trends and keeping a steady audience

For the week ending Aug. 18, the show “had its best week yet, averaging a 2.5/9 in 18-49 and 7.3 million viewers overall — up nearly 20% from its averages of just two weeks earlier,” Variety reports, noting that the show “was flat vs. last summer in adults 18-49 while up in the 4%-6% range in all other demos and total viewers — not bad for a 9-year-old show.”

That growth is continuing; Sunday’s episode “improved +22% in viewers, +14% in adults 18-49, +19% in adults 18-34 and +11% in adults 25-54″ compared to last summer, CBS said in a press release.

Big Brother axed by Channel 4 [The Guardian]
CBS tops ratings with ‘Big Brother’ [Variety]
Big Brother Wins Sunday… [CBS press release]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.