[Rumours] Big Brother is coming to France in 2023!

FX Sims

New Member
It's a first in France, the reality show "Big Brother" is about to hit our screens in its original format!

This is not the first time that the Big Brother format has been adapted in France, originally with "Loft Story" in 2001 / 2002. It was a big hit in France for several weeks. Reintroduced under the name "Secret Story" from 2007 to 2017, the mechanics of the game innovated by introducing the concept of "secret hunting" within a house full of mysteries and enigmas. The programme ran out of steam in the last few seasons, both in terms of its production methods and its appeal by the public.

But since 2017, there has been no more reality show in France. But "Secret Story" fans have never stopped believing in the return of the programme that lulled their teenage years throughout the summer, looking for secrets and living to the rhythm of the rebounds and eliminations of the inhabitants of the "house of secrets". After several rumours, the show is about to return to our screens in 2023!

The director of programmes at TF1 (France's leading television channel) Ara Aprikian, is not a big fan of reality TV, on the contrary he hates it. Opposed for years to the return of the great programmes that have made the channel's days (and especially the good ratings), Ara Aprikian seems to change his mind by creating a surprise. First of all, the return of the reality show "Star Academy" which, since 2001, has brought together millions of French people in front of their screens to follow the students of the most famous academy in France, week after week, the best of the academicians won the opportunity to make their first studio album with the glory that comes with it. After airing a documentary on the 20th anniversary of Star Academy last year, the ratings were high and TF1 decided to bring back one of their most famous brands, Star Academy, this autumn in a shorter season (probably to see if the show catches on and if the public is interested in it again).

As for Secret Story, it was all a blur. The French version of the programme was exported to several countries around the world: the Netherlands, Portugal, Lithuania, Peru, and more recently Spain, but had not managed to motivate the channel to sign up for a new season. However things are changing, with the advent and return of Big Brother around the world, notably in Canada and Australia, the channel is said to be looking at the Big Brother format. A few days ago ITV announced the return of Big Brother UK... and guess what? Since then, rumours about the return of Secret Story have been flying, everyone is talking about it but no one really knows... except the confirmed bloggers. Indeed, Clément Garin (French journalist) revealed a few days ago that Secret Story was back in 2023 on TF1 via a post on his Instagram page "CG.SCOOPS".

The 15 year anniversary documentary of Secret Story, revealing secrets still hidden on the program will be aired on August 26, 2022, this documentary aims to test the public's interest in the return of the show (like the Star Academy last year). If the ratings are convincing, the program is signed, otherwise goodbye Secret Story. Since Clément Garin's post, the French have expressed their excitement for the return of Secret Story, and the fans are happy.

But a new twist today. Two hours ago via an Instagram post, journalist Clément Garin announced that TF1 was not preparing the return of Secret Story... but the arrival of Big Brother France! Yes, you read that right, Big Brother would arrive in France next summer! Explaining in his post that TF1 and its director of programmes Ara Aprikian, are still in the mindset of broadcasting family programmes and not garbage reality shows, the format of Big Brother would be based on that of Big Brother US / CAN / QC. But this doesn't appeal to Secret Story fans like me, because the US format is not the best for Big Brother and its audience... Ideally, they should have based it on the Big Brother UK format in my opinion, because the audience really has a bigger role than in the US version. Secret Story has got the audience used to interacting with the show by voting every week to save one of the nominees.

It remains to be seen if all this is true, Clément Garin is a serious journalist and he has never been wrong about what he has announced in the past. He himself had announced the return of Star Academy before the channel announced it.
From a French point of view, I don't think the US Big Brother concept will work in France. Secret Story marked a period in French television, and people are nostalgic. If all this is true, I hope they will make the Big Brother US concept much more compelling than the current format in the US (a format I have grown tired of, and which is the main reason I don't watch Big Brother US anymore). In Canada and Quebec the format works, hopefully the producers will follow this trend.

So what do you think? Will it work in France? Or not?


Sources:

Instagram post by Clément Garin on the cg.scoops account about the return of Secret Story: https://www.instagram.com/p/ChFpL6PLe60/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Clément Garin's Instagram post on the cg.scoops account regarding the arrival of Big Brother in France: https://www.instagram.com/p/ChHSlIULb3B/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
 

Brekkie

Moderator
Staff member
Interesting. I actually think going the US format route is actually a wise move for them - means it will be more distinctly different from Secret Story and the format itself is very solid - it's just the US are the worst as producing their own format. The Quebec version seems to have been pretty well done.
 

FX Sims

New Member
Interesting. I actually think going the US format route is actually a wise move for them - means it will be more distinctly different from Secret Story and the format itself is very solid - it's just the US are the worst as producing their own format. The Quebec version seems to have been pretty well done.
Maybe I'm just too used to Secret Story. The US format is a kind of The Survivor but it takes place in a house. In France we have (maybe too many) shows like this, we have our own The Survivor which works well, Ninja Warrior, and so on. I'm still curious about what it might be like, but the production of Big Brother France "Banijay" is more famous for making trash shows than reality shows, they manage with The Survivor where the casting is interesting and the direction makes us want to follow. But their other shows, let's not talk about them, they are not much appreciated.
 

Kingston

Canadian Royalty
So far BBCAN is the only franchise that’s actually produced a direct translation of the American format. Even then they went out of their way to make the two distinct. If BB Quebec is the inspiration for this series they seem to have a good grip on incorporating elements of both formats. My understanding is that their format includes two shows… One that covers the more competitive aspects of the format and another that covers the rest.
 

Mustard

...Member?
I find it vaguely funny that a lot of international Survivor adaptations try to de-emphasise the strategy aspect, whilst on the other hand it’s now vogue to make Big Brother more strategical.
 

l.a.r.a

Well-Known Member
Awesome site donor
Maybe I'm just too used to Secret Story. The US format is a kind of The Survivor but it takes place in a house. In France we have (maybe too many) shows like this, we have our own The Survivor which works well, Ninja Warrior, and so on. I'm still curious about what it might be like, but the production of Big Brother France "Banijay" is more famous for making trash shows than reality shows, they manage with The Survivor where the casting is interesting and the direction makes us want to follow. But their other shows, let's not talk about them, they are not much appreciated.
Secret Story IMO is the best TV reality in France. And the best of all Big Brother. I hope they have not changed the format. I am totally addicted to
SS and I missed it so much. I love Pekin Express too :)
 

timmy

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Awesome site donor
Secret Story IMO is the best TV reality in France. And the best of all Big Brother. I hope they have not changed the format. I am totally addicted to
SS and I missed it so much. I love Pekin Express too :)
Well they are. They're switching to Big Brother US format, if the above is true. No more Secret Story.
 

Brekkie

Moderator
Staff member
How are the later series of Secret Story regarded in France? I followed it quite closely for the first few series but then they geoblocked the site so my interest faded away and the later series never seemed to hit the heights of the earlier ones. Losing their original presenter didn't help - he was one of the best in the franchise.
 

l.a.r.a

Well-Known Member
Awesome site donor
How are the later series of Secret Story regarded in France? I followed it quite closely for the first few series but then they geoblocked the site so my interest faded away and the later series never seemed to hit the heights of the earlier ones. Losing their original presenter didn't help - he was one of the best in the franchise.
I didn't watch the first few years, I was already with my step family in Australia.
For me all of them were really good, up to 2015 when Émilie Fiorelli won (she was my favourite). I was visiting my family in Switzerland at that time, it was tragic to have the final live and we could hear the shooting just meters away from the house. :( We knew Emilie won but they had to stop the final of course 137 death how could you think of anything else.
Secret Story was good till the end IMO. Of course you could see a little more of the manipulation but nothing like here.
 

FX Sims

New Member
Secret Story IMO is the best TV reality in France. And the best of all Big Brother. I hope they have not changed the format. I am totally addicted to
SS and I missed it so much. I love Pekin Express too :)
I loved watching the show as a teenager, it was a real investigation every year, it's a shame that in the last few seasons the format has run out of steam due to the financial aspects of production...
 

FX Sims

New Member
How are the later series of Secret Story regarded in France? I followed it quite closely for the first few series but then they geoblocked the site so my interest faded away and the later series never seemed to hit the heights of the earlier ones. Losing their original presenter didn't help - he was one of the best in the franchise.
The eleventh and last season of Secret Story (so far) is a financial failure because the channel TF1 did not want to put much money in the production of this one because the ratings were not very high, compared to other programmes broadcasted on the same time slot. For several seasons already, the candidates have been finding ways to cheat and discover the secrets of others without playing the game (one candidate had to go to the hospital in season 10 and one of the nurses revealed to her the list of secrets and to whom they belonged. When she returned to the house, the contestant waited a few days before setting off the secret alarm and strangely enough... she had the exact title of the secret without even having investigated). The casting was superficial, the show revolved around the couple Kamila / Noré, it was really boring. When Benjamin Castaldi left the show after season 8 in 2015, Secret Story lost its poster boy. I really like Christophe Beaugrand the host since season 9 but the show doesn't suit him as well as Benjamin. Furthermore, they alternated the broadcasting on two channels TF1 and NT1 which became TFX afterwards, to finally broadcast all the season 11 on TFX, the public was tired of all these changes, of the cheating rumours, and of the low quality content that season 11 offered. To tell you the truth, there are rumours that production favoured Noré to be the winner...
 

FX Sims

New Member
I didn't watch the first few years, I was already with my step family in Australia.
For me all of them were really good, up to 2015 when Émilie Fiorelli won (she was my favourite). I was visiting my family in Switzerland at that time, it was tragic to have the final live and we could hear the shooting just meters away from the house. :( We knew Emilie won but they had to stop the final of course 137 death how could you think of anything else.
Secret Story was good till the end IMO. Of course you could see a little more of the manipulation but nothing like here.
Emilie Fiorelli was one of the iconic contestants of the first decade of Secret Story. When she entered the House of Secrets in season 9 (2015), she was immediately noticed by the public and was a real honest and genuine candidate. Unfortunately the final never took place due to the attack on 13 November 2015. The House of Secrets was just a few blocks away from the attack, it was too dangerous to hold the final, with the public and the inhabitants in an emergency situation like this, and it would have been really inappropriate towards the victims and their families. Emilie was announced the winner a few days later on social networks, and she became a columnist in Secret Story: le débrief on TFX during the following season. She then focused on her media career and became a mother. She participated in "Mamans & Célèbres" a show where the public follows the daily lives of different mothers from French reality TV, but a few months after joining the show, she announced her departure from the programme.
 

Brekkie

Moderator
Staff member
Furthermore, they alternated the broadcasting on two channels TF1 and NT1 which became TFX afterwards, to finally broadcast all the season 11 on TFX, the public was tired of all these changes, of the cheating rumours, and of the low quality content that season 11 offered.
Ah, that might explain why the ratings went from nearly 5m in the first season to just over half a million in the final season. Seemed to be a hefty decline in the middle years - indeed one of the few examples of the franchise where it's ratings fell every single season. Amazing really it lasted as long as it did.
 

FX Sims

New Member
Ah, that might explain why the ratings went from nearly 5m in the first season to just over half a million in the final season. Seemed to be a hefty decline in the middle years - indeed one of the few examples of the franchise where it's ratings fell every single season. Amazing really it lasted as long as it did.
I think, above all, that the producers relied on what they had and did not try to improve / revolutionize the format, which was repetitive and getting old year after year.
Yes, there were twists and turns with false evictions, candidates arriving afterwards, intruders, but every year it was pretty much the same mechanics. More and more rumours came out about the show like the famous secrets that were supposed to be true - in fact some secrets were invented by the production. Every year there were the mechanical secrets like "I am the voice's accomplice"; "we are a fake couple", the contestants who had these secrets didn't actually have any secrets, and the production chose them for their personalities. Moreover, cheating was becoming more and more present, and in the last few seasons we saw which candidates were preferred by production: they had more missions, more immunities, more power every week.
All this annoyed the public because in the end we were being lied to, and we were no longer really watching reality TV but something that followed a script set by the production. Even the production noticed that the audience was dropping out, during the live evictions nights, not many people voted for their favourite nominee, the production insisted on voting, but the audience wanted proof that the production was cheating. It turns out that they did cheat in several seasons - a claim partly revealed by a former Secret Story producer.

The show went on for 11 consecutive seasons, the eleventh was not to be broadcast (this was said by a former Endemol France employee). Endemol had proposed two spin-offs of Secret Story: in 2012 "Secret Beach" - former Secret Story contestants went to Mexico to find Love (to compete with another increasingly successful reality show "The Angels of Reality TV"; and the second spin-off in 2018: "Secret Story VS. the rest of the world": an all-star season that would have pitted former Secrets Story contestants against other French reality TV contestants (again to compete with another reality show "The Marseillais VS. the Rest of the World" that was a hit among teenagers). Both formats did not appeal to any broadcaster and therefore never saw the light of day.
 
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