Net plans last U.K. series of celeb reality show
LONDON — An ambience inspired by Dante’s “Inferno” and Sartre’s historic one-liner that “Hell is other people” are some of the ingredients the producers of the final U.K. season of “Celebrity Big Brother” hope will lead to ratings heaven.Not, of course, forgetting the celebrity housemates who will be revealed amidst much hoopla when the show bows Jan 3. They are rumored to include former “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson, rap star MC Hammer and former Hollywood vice madam Heidi Fleiss. As well as Dante we have been hugely influenced by Sartre’s line ‘Hell is other people’ and the house reflects this,” explained “Celebrity Big Brother’s” executive producer Shirley Jones. “Whilst the flames and dark colors might look a bit hellish to some, sometimes your actual hell is the people you’re with so we have removed some of the doors to make everything more open plan,” she added. The redesigned house features a large living area strewn with fur rugs, gilded panels and ornate lamps plus a kitchen decked out in “autopsy green.” The air of Gothic horror is reflected in the soft furnishings, which includes cushions emblazoned with diamante skulls. The seventh U.K. run of “Celebrity Big Brother” hopes to “go out with a bang” — and prove that jaded audiences in Blighty can be persuaded to return to the reality behemoth. Last summer the web announced that it was axing “Big Brother” and its celeb spin-off following viewer disenchantment. The “Celebrity Big Brother” swan song will last an epic 27 days — its longest-ever run. In 2007 the show — the fifth series — was the focus of a row involving allegations of racist bullying that almost cost Channel 4’s then CEO Andy Duncan his job. The web is in the throes of appointing Duncan’s successor. There is speculation in local media that the BBC’s chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, a former Channel 4 corporate affairs topper, is on the shortlist for the job. But whoever is appointed is unlikely to be in place before “Celebrity Big Brother” is safely consigned to the Channel 4 archive — however hellish it turns out to be for all concerned.