Skein rumored to cost $6.5 mil

SYDNEY — Oz auds love their reality TV but the arrival of Southern Star Endemol’s “Big Brother” has been remarkably unspectacular — so far.

The skein, which struggled Stateside but set Blighty ablaze, debuted April 24 and airs seven nights a week on third-ranked Network Ten. Produced at a custom-built house at Queensland’s Dreamworld themepark, “Big Brother” is skedded to run three months as 12 housemates vie for a A$250,000 ($125,000) prize.

Execs at Can West’s Network Ten refuse to confirm the rumored $6.5 million cost but have admitted the skein will not turn a profit unless a second series is commissioned. So far, ratings have dropped marginally each night since the launch show reached 1.6 million viewers, which must put a second series in jeopardy.

In its 7 p.m. timeslot “Big Brother” regularly ranks second behind Kerry Stokes’ Seven Network’s long-running soap “Home and Away.” But Ten’s publicity machine is loudly trumpeting “Big Brother’s” success in capturing 49.4% of the key 16-39 demographic.

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