Reality television is a voyeuristic foray into the sociological unknown. The genre begun in 1991 with a Dutch series called Nummer 28. Seven strangers were put together in a house in Amsterdam, but “unlike later versions of the concept, no game-aspects were included in the show, and the inhabitants of the house were also not isolated from the outside world.” This format eventually morphed into Big Brother – the very first “contest reality show.”
The Big Brother series became the most successful television franchise in entertainment history. Hundreds of countries produced their own versions of the show, most of which featured a 24/7 “live feed”, a daily “summary episode”, and a weekly eviction/nomination episode.
Big Brother Africa is a regional version of the show i.e. several countries partake in the competition. The 9th season, aptly named “Big Brother Africa Hotshots,” was supposed to start on the 7th of September at Sasani Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa. Yesterday evening, a fire engulfed the set and burned the house to the ground.
Endemol South Africa – Big Brother’s pan-African production company – cancelled the season with immediate effect. According to Channel24, “The cause of the fire which erupted and plunged the production into further crisis is not know. Production company Endemol South Africa and M-Net had no choice but to cancel the start of the show which has seen multiple production challenges the past few weeks before the cameras had even started rolling. Due to stringent changes to South Africa’s visa regulations, Endemol South Africa first had to dump the originally selected contestants from Ghana and start a frantic search for Ghana residents already living in South Africa to put in the show.”
Endemol is “urgently looking for an alternative Big Brother house in which to film the production, however as this production has highly technical infrastructure, alternative camera and edit requirements are not immediately available.”
Who shall we nominate first? The static on our television sets.