Big Brother around the world
Big Brother around the world
Did you know that Big Brother originally stared in the Netherlands? Since that first season in 1999, the show and its basic concept have spread all around the world.

Local versions of Big Brother are now made and broadcast in dozens of countries, including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and the UK.

And, obviously, in the US, which differs from most versions in that viewers don’t control all of the voting. That’s not the only way it differs; many of the international versions of Big Brother are almost entirely uncensored, which CBS would never allow.

Some of the international series occasionally add a twist by swapping a contestant out with one from a Big Brother series from another country.

There are also several versions of the show that include contestants from various different countries to begin with. Big Brother Africa is about to enter its second season, in which contestants from a dozen African countries will take part once again. Scandinavia also has a version with both Norway and Sweden taking part. Similarly, Gran Hermano del Pacífico (Big Brother Pacific) is a version with contestants from Ecuador, Chile, and Peru.

In the Middle East, a similar pan-regional show was attempted in 2004, including contestants from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Oman, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Somalia, Syria and Tunisia. However, religious protests caused the show to be cancelled after only a week.

They’re nearly all called “Big Brother” in one language or another, with the exceptions of French versions from Canada and France, which are both called Loft Story. Both of these versions feature a winning couple, rather than a single winner.

There is also a virtual version, Big Brother Second Life, which takes place entirely within the Second Life virtual world.

As well as all the official incarnations of Big Brother, there exist many shows with similar formats, such as The Farm, Protagonistas..., The Bar, and many other copies of the original concept.

Why is this show such a hit around the world? It’s hard to say. But the fact remains that it is.

-Mel, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Associated Press
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