26 April 2012
It’s been four years since the show I’d grown to love, then hate, was taken off Australian television screens indefinitely. At the time I was part confused – what would I do with my spare time from March-July next year? – but mostly thankful. The show had been sent express courier to the Isle of Trash, the format wasn’t being refreshed each season, the housemates were the same Barbies and Kens, and let’s not even go near the train wreck new hosts. I always thought to myself “it’ll be back some day.” When it was announced that Nine had acquired the rights from Southern Star I got excited. This could be the format’s second life; maybe they’ll do it right.
Like many people the show Big Brother was exciting to me because there was nothing quite like it on our television screens. Unlike other reality TV shows the audience were given the opportunity to get to know the housemates, albeit through the lens of a camera, an executive producer and management team, and some clever video and audio cuts. These people, after all, are humans just like me. The idea of a large-scale social experiment plastered on television was exciting, I was genuinely interested in the anthropological side of things. That was until the format became hugely popular and the only people auditioning were those with washboard abs looking for a career in radio. I recall heading along to auditions the year I turned 18 and I was disgusted by the type of people there, the type of people I may have to spend months watching on television, writing about on this website.
During the last few seasons I was completely jaded. Listening back to podcasts that Tim and I did at the time are proof of that. We would end up rattling on about our own lives and not the show, I stopped watching it all together. My only relation to the show was through this website and community we had created, and seeking out gossip from inside the compound to share with our readers. I reveled in receiving frustrated emails from the then executive producer, constantly baffled as to how we were getting our information. From our point of view, we were keeping people interested in a show that was suffering – the viewers were dropping, the show had jumped the shark.
We, the fans, are older now. Are Channel Nine going to pitch the show to us, a new generation of viewers, or do they have enough cash and freedom to try it out for a year and see how it goes? Nine are known for destroying any reality TV format they touch, but viewers are flocking to The Voice and I can only guess they’re hoping it will raise their profile just in time for Big Brother to kick off. The format is expensive to put on and needs the support of advertisers to buy in to the sheer amount of air time it gets in prime time most days of the week.
Even though the logo looks like it was crafted in MS Paint and is a cartoon representation of someone fresh from two lines of MDMA off a toilet seat and the only marketing we’ve seen thus far (“all of the housemates will have a secret”) leave a lot to be desired, I’m confident.