A message from Big Brother 9’s casting director on her MySpace page has confirmed that the finalists for Big Brother 9 have indeed been chosen. That means if you’ve applied and were still holding onto hope that you’d be chosen, you’re out of luck. Maybe next season. CBS has kept the details of Big Brother 9 quite secret. We still don’t know how many contestants will be in the house, what (if any) twists there will be and, most interesting, the length of the season. There’s a rumor out there that Big Brother 9 may only run for six weeks and, though the rumor is unsubstantiated, it made me think: Does CBS even have to schedule an end date for Big Brother 9?
Despite Big Brother being a staple of CBS summer broadcasting and owning a loyal legion of super fans, the series has been on the verge of cancellation more than once. The risk of producing a spring season is readily apparent. There will be much more difficult time slot competition in the spring, even with writers’ strike going on. Also, there’s the risk of overexposure. Will the super fans be able to stomach two Big Brother seasons almost right in a row? My gut says yes, though the real worry might be with the casual fan. Big Brother is a big time commitment for the viewer and two full seasons in a row could end up crippling the series, like what happened to shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and The Apprentice.
I think it’s quite likely that CBS is keeping their options open when it comes to the season length of Big Brother 9. If the show is only receiving middling ratings once it begins, they may want to turn it into an abbreviated six week mini-season that ends in late March, and give fans a few months off before the real season begins in Summer. If they allow themselves the option of keeping Big Brother 9 short, given the nature of Big Brother, CBS could easily extend the season to a full one if the ratings merit such a thing. Double elimination episodes, two eliminations in a week, having three finalists – there are a lot of ways to lengthen or shorten the season on the fly.
Also, CBS’s decision may hinge on the status of the writers’ strike. Let’s say the strike gets resolved by the end of January. Production will have already passed the point of no return, even though production on scripted shows could be revived in time for late Spring air dates. In that case, it would make perfect sense for CBS to make Big Brother 9 six weeks, instead of three months. So, if you’re confused by CBS not committing to an end date for Big Brother 9, it’s probably because they haven’t yet decided on one. We’ll keep you updated.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)