After eight successful seasons and 1316 episodes, TEN today announced that Big Brother will not be returning in 2009.
The 2008 season finale will air on Monday 21 July.
TEN’s chief programming officer, David Mott, said: “Big Brother is the undisputed grand-daddy of modern, commercial reality television in Australia. Today’s reality dramas have all, on some level, been inspired by Big Brother.
“We are immensely proud of the show and the incredible success it has enjoyed since premiering in 2001.
“We’re ending the season on a high, largely thanks to the talents of Kyle and Jackie O who have presented yet another successful season.”
Mr Mott added that for millions of Big Brother fans who were glued to their screens each day, the show was like catching up with mates: it was entertaining, familiar and sometimes a little unpredictable. For many, it was also highly addictive.
“You just have to read the fan website to see how big and vocal the Big Brother community is,” he said.
Over the years, Big Brother has continued to deliver significant audience and share, especially in TEN’s core demographic, 18-49. The daily, eviction and nomination shows consistently occupied a place in the top programs week after week in 18-49.
Mr Mott acknowledged that the show attracted its fair share of controversy, and often generated robust debate. It instantly became Australia’s most talked about television program.
“Big Brother raised a number of issues which were meaningful and it highlighted some of the very real concerns of young people,” he said.
“The show has taken on topics of race, sex, homosexuality, eating disorders and alcohol abuse, many of which had been handled gingerly, if at all, on TV.”
Big Brother was more than TV. Fans who wanted access to Big Brother, any time anywhere, could do so via their TV, mobile or on the internet. It also provided a multifaceted platform for key sponsors who wanted a “surround-sound” advertising experience.
TEN’s chief executive officer, Grant Blackley, said: “Big Brother has been an important franchise for the network but we are confident this is the right decision at the right time for TEN.
“Importantly, as Big Brother represented up to 120 hours of TV, we now have an opportunity to further diversify our schedule with new, exciting and bold programs for viewers and advertisers.
“We are already in discussions and development with Australian content providers and we have a number of exciting prospects. We expect to announce these programs in the near term.
“We will also rely on our ever-expanding slate of programs from our two prolific US studios – 20th Century Fox and CBS Paramount.”
Mr Blackley thanked the hundreds of advertisers and committed sponsors who have contributed and benefited greatly from their involvement with Big Brother over this long history.
Mr Blackley also praised Endemol Southern Star (ESS) for their professionalism and innovative production which has kept the show fresh and appealing to viewers over the last eight years.
“Their commitment ensured the Big Brother brand made its way into homes across Australia,” he said.
Southern Star Group’s chief executive, Hugh Marks, said: “To the stars of the show, our housemates, and to the teams of talented and dedicated people who have put this show together every week, you have entertained, enthralled and even educated us. Our Big Brother is a stand-out adaption of this world-wide multimedia phenomenon that will continue for many years to entertain audiences around the world.”
Mr Mott acknowledged the enormous efforts of Big Brother hosts – past and present.
“Kyle and Jackie O have done an outstanding job fronting Big Brother this season. We look forward to seeing Kyle on Australian Idol soon and working with the pair on future projects.
“I’d also like to make special mention of Mike Goldman who has been there from day one with his voicing of every daily show and Friday, and over the years has also hosted Friday Night Live and Big Brother Up Late.
“To Bree Amer, Fitzy, Tony Squires and Rebecca Wilson, thank you for keeping us entertained throughout the series.
“And, of course, a huge thank you to Gretel Killeen for her years of dedication to the show,” he said.
He also paid tribute to the entire production team from ESS and TEN.
“On air, the program ran like a well-oiled machine, yet behind the scenes, the team worked tirelessly 24 hours a day to bring Big Brother to our screens.
“I also want to thank our loyal Big Brother fans for their avid viewing and support throughout the years,” he said.