27 February 2013

Big Brother Canada: The Audience?

By // TV

The Canadian Houseguests

The Canadian Houseguests

When the American version of Big Brother launched in 2000, it had a sense of novelty and excitement surrounding it as a groundbreaking television show—it was unlike any other show that had ever aired in North America at the time. I’ll never forget being glued to the television screen myself, fascinated by this new form of entertainment where, as viewers, we had unprecedented access to intimate details of strangers’ lives. These intimate details are what many of us desire to know about others, even if we hide this urge. I really think that it’s a basic human desire to want to learn about other people’s lives behind closed doors— what they do when no one else is looking—their juicy, intimate secrets. I think there’s a “nosy person” inside us all, whether acknowledged or not. The instant popularity of Big Brother has attested to this fact, and proven it over and over again through successive seasons. The urge to know—the Nancy Drew detective lurking within us—never dies…

The novelty has faded quite a bit after thirteen straight years of American Big Brother, but with the Canadian Big Brother premiering tonight at 9:00 p.m on Slice, many fans are wondering how the Canadian cast will differ from the Americans and some new viewers might even tune in specifically to watch the Canadian content.

Canadian Idol only lasted six seasons and So You Think You Can Dance Canada only lasted four, despite the long-running success of their American counterparts. Perhaps one of the reasons why is because the US has so many more citizens than Canada has, so it could primarily be a matter of statistics. By the numbers, the United States has a population of 315, 568, 668, compared to Canada’s population of 33, 476, 668. The differences are staggering, to say the least. With that in mind, the fact that producers decided to air Big Brother Canada in the winter indicates that they obviously don’t want the two North American Big Brothers competing for viewers. On the contrary, clearly producers are counting on Canadians who are already loyal fans of the American Big Brother to naturally be interested in and almost automatic fans of its Canadian counterpart. But will Canadian fans of the American show want to switch their loyalties or dedicate both their winter And summer to watching both shows?

With the differences in population and the fact that Americans aren’t likely to tune into a Canadian program the way Canadians will tune in for American programs, is it possible for the Canadian Big Brother to generate a strong enough fan base to keep the show going for several seasons? I’ll be watching to find out…

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