The 20th season of reality show “Big Brother Brazil” hit a historic milestone this week when the trio disputing the final two spots on the show’s tenth eviction night lured a whopping 1.5 billion votes. The massive number of casting votes set an all-time record in the “Big Brother” franchise, licensed to Brazilian media giant Globo by Endemol Shine. Since its debut in January, “Big Brother Brazil 20” reached 159 million viewers on free-to-air Globo TV. The March 31 episode nabbed a share of 51% in the city of São Paulo and 55% in Rio de Janeiro.
“Thank you very much for this unprecedented voter participation on this unimaginable eviction day,” said host Tiago Leifert, who interrupted Globo’s regular programming to break the news. The finale is slated for April 23. Voters are allowed to vote multiple times.
“The numbers we are seeing for “Big Brother” in Brazil are eye-popping,” said Endemol Shine Americas Chairman Cris Abrego who, together with Endemol Shine Latino president Laurens Drillich, spearheaded the license arrangement with Globo. “They are historic even for a hit global franchise like this one; it’s amazing how the team at Globo have galvanized an entire country with this series,” Abrego added.
As in the original Dutch television series conceived by media tycoon John de Mol in 1997, the show places a group of strangers in a Big Brother house to live together twenty-four hours a day in complete lockdown, with no exposure to newspapers, telephones, television and the internet. Cameras record their every move, with virtually no privacy, for about three months. The housemates compete with each other to avoid the weekly eviction; the last person remaining at the end of the season claims the grand prize.
The concept of “Big Brother” seems even more timely given the lockdown most people worldwide are experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“To see audiences identifying themselves with the houseguests and their personal stories, embarking with them on their emotional journey throughout the game, has been most gratifying. It has always been this way. But now, in face of the current world reality, “being confined together” has gained a new meaning,” said “BBB” general director Rodrigo Dourado, adding: “We made the decision to tell the contestants about the pandemic during the live airing of the show, as a great opportunity to inform and alert our viewers about the COVID-19, but also to ensure the safety of our houseguests.”
“I am aware now that we have been providing entertainment to distract people amidst the constant broadcast of bad news. Our role to offer quality entertainment has gained a whole new meaning,” said J.B. Oliveira, who has directed the show for 20 seasons.
The Brazilian version suspended its live studio audience since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Other measures include heightened on-site sanitation, monitoring all people with access to the already restricted location and 24-7 monitoring of all the contestants by a medical team.
“Big Brother Brazil” airs live daily on free-to-air Globo and is also available 24 hours a day on Globo’s pay TV and OTT platform, Globoplay, which is accessible in Brazil and the U.S.
“Big Brother” is currently produced in more than 20 territories around the world by Endemol Shine.