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Oz’s Ten keeps ‘Brother’ in family

Web fends off rivals to retain skein rights

SYDNEY — Australia’s Ten Network has won the bidding war for the rights to “Big Brother II” and spinoff series “Celebrity Big Brother.”

The web had the right of last refusal after successfully airing the first series but had to fight off rival bids from the Nine and Seven networks. Producer Southern Star Endemol was in the happy position of pitching a show that all three commercial channels dearly wanted.

Ten’s CEO John McAlpine said “Big Brother II” will air in the first half of next year. The license fee wasn’t disclosed, but McAlpine acknowledged the sequel would be “more expensive.”

McAlpine said the reality show is an important plank in its strategy to continue increasing its share of the key 16-39 and 25-39 demographics. He noted the ratings benefits from the first series included its use as a promo platform for programs including “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Becker” and local show “Rove.”

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