14 facts about Big Brother Franchise

The term Big Brother originated from George Orwell’s novel, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ with its theme of continuous oppressive surveillance.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the character, Big Brother, serves as a God-like figure to the fiction citizens of Oceania.

He is a symbol of power and seen as an all- knowing figure gazing into the lives of every citizen from posters that read “Big Brother Is Watching You”.

Big Brother replaces the love of all things in citizens’ lives.

The show’s format has since been copied in over forty countries, including Nigeria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, United Kingdom and USA.

It also used to be in Australia but was axed in 2008.

Since its inception, Big Brother shows has been criticised following reports of “HIB” (Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying), violence in the house, obscene language, breach of integrity and the physical and mental strain of appearing on the series.

Here are other things to know about the Franchise:

* Johannes Hendrikus Hubert “John” de Mol Jr, is a Dutch media tycoon and television producer. In 1997, he founded the highly popular reality television series Big Brother with his eponymous production company called John de Mol Produkties. He also founded The Voice, the new reality competition series in 2010.

* Big Brother series was first aired in 1999 on Veronica in the Netherlands.

* In the first season the house was very basic. Although essential amenities such as running water, furniture and a limited ration of food were provided, luxury items were often forbidden.

This added a survivalist element to the show, increasing the potential for social tension. Later series provided a modern house for the contest with a Jacuzzi, sauna, VIP suite, loft and other luxuries.

* In July 5, 2000, the series was bought by CBS for an estimated $20 million. The American version premiered with ten housemates.

*In most countries that have produced Big Brother, the contestants have been known as “housemates”; however in the American and Canadian version they are referred to as “houseguests”

*Eddie McGee was the winner of Big Brother 1 (US) as well as the first winner in Big Brother History. He received 59% of America’s vote after lasting 88 days inside the Big Brother House and won the $500,000 grand prize.

*The first season of Big Brother Africa started on May 25, 2003 and ended on September 7 of the same year, lasting 106 days, with Cherise Makubalo being crowned the very first winner of the show. Mark Pilgrim was the host.

*The first season of the show first in Nigeria aired on DStv Channel 37 from March 5 to June 4, 2006 with 12 to 14 contestants live in an isolated house and compete for a large cash prize worth $58,252.43 equivalent to N21million. In a twist to the game, two new contestants were introduced on Day 23, much to the excitement of the remaining housemates.

*The first winner of Big Brother Nigeria is Katung Aduwak, a native of Zonkwa in Kaduna state.

*In the first Big Brother Nigeria edition, Ebuka was the most popular housemate for several weeks into the show. He was widely believed to emerge the winner but was the seventh housemate to be evicted. Many viewers blame the Joe’s Fan Club (JFC) for his eviction. Joe himself was soon evicted from the show.

*Big Brother Naija second edition with the theme ‘Gobbe’ started on 22 January 2017 and was slated to end after 78 days.

* Big Brother Naija with the theme Double Wahala is the third season of the Nigerian version of the reality show Big Brother. It was launched on 28 January 2018.

*From a sociological and demographic perspective, Big Brother allows an analysis of how people react when forced into close confinement with people outside their comfort zone (with different opinions or ideals, or from a different socioeconomic group).

*To win the final cash prize, a contestant must survive periodic (usually weekly) evictions and be the last housemate or houseguest remaining in the compound by the series’ conclusion.

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