Big Brother Australia’s massive relaunch is just around the corner, and to get you guys spiced up and in the mood, it’s time to have a closer look at this upcoming season. With so many new and returning elements being bombarded onto the show, quite a debate can be drummed up concerning what will and won’t work in Big Brother’s favour.
So here we are. 2012. Eleven years since Big Brother first aired; Four years since Big Brother last aired. The upcoming season will be the show’s ninth. Sonia Kruger will host and Mikey Goldman will return as the much loved narrator. The show will be family-friendly and will air at 7pm. It will also air at 9pm on GO! Oh, and it’s on Nine! Very important.
So that’s all the information we can basically say is locked-in guaranteed for this reincarnation. Everything else is up in the air and could be manipulated in any way before being revealed to us on what should be a fantastic launch night.
But for us Big Brother fans, will the fun and cheers of the show’s return be numbed on Tuesday 14 August with shocking ratings or from the awful taste the launch could put in our mouths? Well…
What I can say is, my excitement for Big Brother has been, as they say in the reality world, like a roller-coaster! At first I couldn’t believe it and was in complete and utter euphoric shock. Then I went into a state of ‘hmm…but it’s a cheap version…on Nine’. But since hearing more and more about the show, my feelings have levelled out to the sheer anticipation and cluelessness I felt before every other Big Brother launch night. This is a good thing.
I must say, I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that surprisingly, Nine seemingly have put few steps wrong when it comes to handling this relaunch. They’ve gone with a great and lively host, they seem to be hell bent on turning Big Brother back to basics (which is what we all want, right?!), they’ve brought back Mike Goldman and while they’re trying to capitalise on the broadest of audiences, they’re also listening to fans by placing 9pm daily shows on GO! They’ve reversed the decision to relaunch Big Brother as Big Brother: Secrets, which does seem like a ‘good-idea-at-the-time’ type concept; they’ve also spent a lot more money on this than I was anticipating.
But what may look like sunshine and roses doesn’t necessarily mean BIG results.
As a quick analysis, I’d say it’d be pretty unlikely Big Brother’s launch night will deliver sub-par ratings. I think, with all this hype and all this energy going into the show, I think Nine, at this moment in time, have done all they possibly can to get as many people watching as possible. Cut corners are nowhere in sight, and I can see this paying dividends for the launch.
Depending on how much of this positivity channels through on launch night will affect how long it will take for numbers to drop. So here is where we wonder what will and won’t work in Big Brother’s favour.
Let’s begin with the negatives.
Firstly, this is a reboot of an old format. Big Brother is no longer new and miracles can no longer be expected. The atmosphere surrounding Big Brother is the same as that surrounding Hey, Hey It’s Saturday, and look how that turned out. We’d be foolish to assume at this current time that Big Brother will last another eight years. I do believe that novelty will be short lived and if the attention of the public isn’t grabbed on launch night, there’s no way this show will last.
Secondly, Nine seems to be copying the UK version of the show quite closely. The eye, the stage, and now the axing of the live feed. I don’t really see our version as a rip-off of the UK version; as I think overall, most of the features that could be attributed to the UK series will pale in significance to the Australian atmosphere the show should have with the many returning Australian features such as Live Nominations and Mike Goldman’s iconic voice! But many still blast Nine for the lack of imagination the show is showing by borrowing off of the UK. And the lack of live feed is a worrying one. It’s a controversial issue in the UK; and any good publicity the show gets there is marred soon after by another complainer of the lack of live feed.
If that happens here; just the sheer negativity of the lack of live feed could derail what may be a good season.
Thirdly, the Big Brother Shuffle. I’m sorry, but this whole ‘Big Brother Shuffle’ thingy is nothing but a forced gimmick seemingly implemented to get people talking about Big Brother again while acting ‘hip’ and doing a shuffle. If Big Brother is hip, it shouldn’t have to say so through the medium of this gimmick. It’s so cringeworthy, but for all the wrong reasons.
Fourthly, having two highlights shows. As much as I think this is a good thing; it too can work against Nine. Now, there are two ways to watch Big Brother on telly. Nine risk diluting their audience so that both editions get less viewership than they could have if they were on their own. Nine are trying to ‘find’ a family-orientated audience. Until they do, Big Brother fans will most likely be sampling both versions; but only one per night. Luckily; it seems Nine is holding off on the second 9PM highlights show for the first week at least.
Finally, the family-friendly cast. Of course you need a tame cast to be family-friendly. But in all honesty, with Big Brother coming back; it can really only come back with a bang. I can’t see a priest, a mother or a slurpee-loving fat bloke pulling in big numbers. It really does need a spark or two, and if they don’t include ANY housemates that could cause a bit of controversy, I don’t know how many people will be coming back.
But enough with all this negative chit chat; what are the positives.
Mike Goldman and Sonia Kruger! For some reason, they’re a pair that have never worked together before, but I feel like they’ve been a stronghold duo for years! Individually, they are both BIG grabs for Nine. Sonia is just perfect for this role, and there literally is no one else that can do Mike’s job. He’s done it all along! If Nine was banking on a host to provide much needed energy to Big Brother, Sonia’s the girl.
Launching in August is also clever. Ten are usually dead in the water and Nine are going off the back of the Olympics to get the ball going. I can see a lot of younger people gathering at each other’s houses when the weather gets warmer and whether they watch Big Brother or just have it on in the background, I can see it becoming a spring staple.
Thirdly, Nine seem to be spending more time with the program and its viewership than Ten ever did. There’s no hint of laziness. They’ve gone over every aspect of the show and have given viewers so much feedback. For a network I used to love to distrust, they’ve done such a brilliant job and this connection with viewers WILL pay off.
Nine isn’t setting expectations too high. It predicts an average of a million viewers per night and is only expecting 1.3m for the finale- which is less than the performance of the 2008 finale!
Finally, getting back to the whole Hey, Hey It’s Saturday comparison- the one thing Big Brother does have going for it is that it is relaunching in a very healthy environment. Reality is more prominent than ever, social media has taken off and it just feels right for the show to come back! We’re not getting ‘the old’ Big Brother in a time when the public is rejecting the reality genre.
So there are plenty of positives and negatives to consider; but how many of them will affect the show and our opinions of it won’t be known until launch night.
Big Brother Australia 2012 launches Monday, 7pm on Nine.