‘Big Brother’ To Debut In Turkey In Move That Will Test Muslim Mores In The TV Arena

In a move that may irk Muslim sensitivities, “Big Brother” is set to make its debut in Turkey on national generalist channel Star TV.

Endemol Shine Turkey will produce the first ever Turkish version of the reality blockbuster over 15 weeks, with plans to air it in prime time on Star TV later this year.

“Biri Bizi Gozetliyor,” an adaptation of “Taxi Orange,” a format adapted from “Big Brother,” aired in Turkey on Show TV between 2001 and 2007, a time when Turkey was undergoing an economic crisis, needed escapism, and had a less conservative climate than at present.

Endemol Shine said they will adapt the “Big Brother” format to reflect the local culture and sensitivity in Turkey, as they do in all 70 territories around the globe where the show airs.

The criteria for Turkey will include men and women living in separate bedrooms, no sexual conduct, and no nudity on cameras, a spokesperson said, adding that they will follow the rules of the local board of radio and television.

In 2004 the Saudi-owned Dubai-based Middle East Broadcasting Canter MBC attempted to air the show in the Arab world from a Big Brother house in an island off the coast of Bahrein.

In that house men and women were barred from each other’s sleeping quarters. It also had a prayer room, a separate women’s lounge, and a communal area, where men and women mixed. Renamed Al-Ra’is (“The Boss”) the show was pulled after nine days due to strong protests and low ratings.

Turkey, which has a booming TV market, has long been pushing the boundaries of Muslim mores with its TV dramas. Istanbul based Endemol Shine Turkey is behind surrogate motherhood skein “Broken Pieces,” also aired on Star TV, a smash hit sold by Global Agency to more than 20 countries.

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