And so TV’s biggest will they/won’t they story comes to a close – no, not the latest Love Island shenanigans ha ha! But the relationship between Controller of Channel 5 Ben Frow and Big Brother. It’s over.
Tonight’s civilian launch will be the last one on the channel and it will be interesting to see how and indeed if it goes out with a bang. On the one hand they’ve been very clear to use the words “the original social experiment” (TV’s most meaningless two words) in all the promo. On the other hand, this final series is meant to be “the most competitive ever” with “mind games” aplenty.
On the one hand I’m sad – I have several friends who have worked on the show variously and they’ll be looking for work, and as a show it pretty much defined my twenties. On the other hand as I get older I find having to give over an hour plus a night to something more like work than entertainment – I still follow the show but the actual amount of times I watch it past launch night is pretty low, at one point Bit On The Side was proving more of a must-watch than the show it was talking about.
What next for it? The council have extended the permission to keep the house up for a further three years, almost certainly speculative on Endemol’s part. It’s jumped channel once before, could it do so again? The problem is I can’t see BBC, ITV or Channel 4 picking it up and presumably it has no chance on another Viacom network. I don’t think ITV2 would touch it, not at the likely rate Channel 5 were paying which to all intents and purposes was pretty low in the first place, and would probably seem old hat in comparison to Love Island, although if LI has proved anything it’s that there is a possible audience for this kind of thing.
There’s an idea floating round that they could do it US strategy-style for Netflix. I never really thought the strategy-style would work over here, I can’t see the average Brit getting excited by “WHO WANTS TO SEE MY HOH ROOOOMM!!” and tediously identiscripted “ceremonies” to point where the average viewer would just tell everybody to get over themselves. I fear being an international streaming service they will try and make it more palatable for Americans and will be edited and put together as such, but with quaint British accents.
So there we are, I find it difficult to see where Big Brother could potentially go in the future. Still, they’ve got three years on the lease, what are the odds on The Big Brother Live Experience at some point? Nominate Your Friends! Do A Task! Have a Cold Shower! Talk To Big Brother in the Diary Room! Argue over shopping! Evict Your Friends! Get booed! 60 minutes for £50 a head.