One thing that always bugs me is people doing reviews of the year before the year has even finished. So it’s a bit hypocritical of me to be doing a Big Brother review of the year when there’s still over a day to go until the year ends. But hey, I had some spare time so you’ve got it early and if anything majorly big happens in the Big Brother world over the next 36 hours or so then I’ll do a supplemental post.
A huge milestone was reached this year. On the 16th September 2009, Big Brother celebrated it’s 10th birthday as it was on 16th September 1999 that the first ever Housemates entered the Big Brother Netherlands house. You may have missed this milestone though as to my knowledge it was not celebrated at all by Endemol. It would have been nice to have some kind of 10th birthday edition. Maybe Endemol forgot about it.
So 10 years after the first ever Big Brother, has the bubble finally burst? It would appear so as we have seen a lot less BB editions this year.
There were a total of 19 Big Brother editions launching in 2009. That is made up of 13 main editions, 5 celebrity editions and 1 All Star edition.
19 total editions is the lowest number since 2004 when there were 18 editions and is 6 fewer than last year.
13 main editions is also the lowest since 2004, when there were also 13 editions, we have to go back to 2000 for a year with fewer main editions, when there were 11. Last year there were 19 main editions.
The most worrying statistic for the future of Big Brother is that no new countries launched a Big Brother edition (ie there were no Big Brother 1′s). That is something that has never happened since BB launched in 1999.
So why after a decade of stable numbers of Big Brothers have we suddenly had a sharp decline in 2009? Well I think it is a combination of a number of reasons.
1) The state of the world economy. Big Brother is an expensive show to make. Broadcasters need to re-coup the money through advertising and in most cases phone voting. Unfortunately, companies are not paying as much money to advertise as they used to and the public don’t have as much money in their pockets to use on voting for people on a reality show.
2) Every TV show has a shelf life and after 10 years Big Brother has had a good run. Pretty much all the countries that wanted to do Big Brother have tried it now and the countries that haven’t seem to prefer making shows like Idol or Got Talent.
If we look in more detail at which countries axed Big Brother in 2009 it might give us more idea as to whether Big Brother is just suffering a mid-life crisis or a terminal illness.
In 2008 there were 19 main editions and in 2009 there were 13.
There are a few anomalies to deal with first. Germany – they launched 2 editions in 2008 and 0 editions in 2009 because the edition that normally launches in January (2009) actually launched December (2008). They have changed back to January now, so although they were airing an edition for 5 months of 2009 it didn’t actually launch.
The next anomaly is the USA. In 2008 they had 2 editions due to a writers strike which created spare airtime for the broadcaster. This year they were back to the usual 1 editions.
The final anomaly is Canada. In Canada their 2009 edition was an All Star edition which replaced their usual main edition.
The other countries that aired editions in 2008 but didn’t in 2009 were -
Slovenia – They axed Big Brother due to the economic crisis. This is understandable as they are the smallest country ever to do Big Brother.
Australia – They axed Big Brother due to poor ratings.
Poland – Presumably due to poor ratings. Although I suspect the poor ratings for BB5 was due to overkill, having 3 almost back to back editions.
Croatia – The 2008 edition got poor ratings, even so the host said during the final that it would be back in 2009. This never happened and the show appears to have been axed for good in Croatia.
Bulgaria – The 2009 edition was axed, however, they are trying again in 2010 with a new concept called Big Brother Family which will air instead of their usual VIP edition.
On the positive side, we have main editions in 2009 some countries that didn’t air BB in 2008. In Serbia Big Brother now airs once every 2 years and so BB returned in 2009 having been absent since 2007. The next main edition will be in 2011 (they run a version of Star Academy during the even numbered years). Philippines returned in 2009 having been absent in 2008. Finally Italy launched 2 editions in 2009 – one in January and a second edition in October.
Briefly, on the Celebrity BB side, Poland and Croatia axed their Celebrity versions. But it returned to Bulgaria after being off air in 2008 and Israel launched their first ever Celebrity edition.
In 2010, we already have 9 definite main editions officially announced – Germany, Brazil, Albania, Canada, Argentina, UK, France, USA and Finland. That may be 10 if the Big Brother Family Bulgaria is classed as a main edition. I am sceptical about Argentina as their edition was supposed to launch in January 2009 but was delayed so many times it never got launched this year and has been pushed into 2010.
There were 27 voluntary Housemate exits in 2009, which is 4 higher than 2008, but 10 less than 2007. And there were a lot less ejections in 2009, only 12 which is much lower than the 20 that took place in 2008.
In March 2009, Jade Goody died, having lost her battle with cancer. As far as I know she was the only person who had been a Big Brother Housemate to die in 2009. Jade still holds the record for the most editions a person has been a Housemate on. She was a Housemate in 4 editions – Big Brother 3 UK, Big Brother Panto UK, Celebrity Big Brother 5 UK and Celebrity Bigg Boss 2 India.
There was only one Housemate swap that took place in 2009, that was between Katlin of Big Brother Finland and Cathy of Big Brother Philippines. 2010 will start off with the worlds first ever double swap between Gran Hermano 11 Spain and Grande Fratello 10 Italy.
A long-standing record was almost broken this year as Nagore in Spain’s current edition was evicted by 95.0% of the vote. This equally the record set by Aline in Big Brother’s 5th edition. Will this record ever be beaten?
Christmas Day 2009 saw 6 Big Brother editions on air, the most ever – Spain, Serbia, Italy, Israel, India and Philippines. The previous highest number of Christmas day editions was 2005 when 4 were on air.
There was a Big Brother edition running somewhere in the world every second of every day during 2009. In fact the last time there was no Big Brother on air in the world was on 12th January 2004, almost 6 years ago.
So that’s it for my 2009 review of the world of Big Brother. This has been a general statistical review. If anyone would like to write a more detailed review of Big Brother in their country then feel free to. You can write your review and send it to me by e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org