Numbers fall to less than one million viewers

SYDNEY — When a budget speech beats you in the ratings, it’s time to fold your tent.

And that’s what Ten Network has done with “Big Brother,” whose numbers fell from a high of 2.4 million to less than a million this eighth season.

Ten’s programming topper David Mott praised the show for delivering the youth-skewed web solid auds and advertisers during its run, and for its place in reality TV history.

” ‘Big Brother’ is the undisputed granddaddy of modern, commercial reality television in Australia,” Mott said. “Today’s reality dramas have all, on some level, been inspired by ‘Big Brother.’ ”

As in other markets, “Big Brother” often caused controversy, at various times being the target of ire from Christian groups and even former prime minister John Howard. But by this year, auds had slipped away and the skein had resorted to stunts like introducing Pamela Anderson to the house.

“The show has taken on topics of race, sex, homosexuality, eating disorders and alcohol abuse, many of which had been handled gingerly, if at all, on TV,” Mott added.

The final episode will air July 21.

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