CBS plans ‘Big Brother’ spinoff

Reality hit spawns new series for cable

It’s Showtime for “Big Brother.”

The CBS summer staple is expanding in a big way for its eighth season, with the Eye planning to launch a spinoff series on one of its cable nets.

“Big Brother: After Dark” will feature a live, unedited feed from the “Big Brother” house. Skein will run three hours nightly from midnight until 3 a.m. ET/PT on ShoToo, Showtime’s widely available companion net.

Because there are so many cameras in the house capturing multiple storylines, an online producer will decide which cameras auds will see. Profanity and nudity will be allowed, but the feed will be interrupted if houseguests say anything slanderous or that violates music copyrights.

Because “Big Brother” originates from Los Angeles, the feed viewers see will feature activity taking place between 9 p.m. and midnight.

“That’s primetime for the ‘Big Brother’ house,” said exec producer-showrunner Allison Grodner. “It’s when our houseguests are most wide awake and having fun, talking about strategy and playing the game. People are going to see quite a bit.”

New extension of “Big Brother” will premiere July 5, the same night as the CBS version of the skein. CBS will once again run “Brother” three nights a week: Thursdays and Sundays at 8 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9.

Scheduling means the Eye’s new low-rated “Pirate Master” will move to a new timeslot. “Pirate Master” will receive a special one-night airing after the “Big Brother” bow, then shift on July 10 to Tuesdays at 10 (where it once again will benefit from a “Big” lead-in).

Addition of “After Dark” continues the Eye’s efforts to turn the “Big Brother” brand into as much of a multiplatform experience as possible:

  • Live feeds from inside the house will continue to be streamed via the Internet. Eye is partnering again with RealNetworks, which will charge $14.99 per month for the feed.

  • “House Calls,” the Internet talk strip devoted to “Big Brother” will be back for its fourth season. Gretchen Massey will host.

  • Full-length episodes of the show will be streamed via the CBS Audience Network to multiple Web sites. Eye will also let users post selected clips to blogs.

  • Eye will offer several mobile-phone packages packed with “Big Brother” content, including one in which subscribers can get breaking news of major developments inside the house.

Grodner and Rich Meehan are the exec producers of “Big Brother” and produce in association with Endemol USA.

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