It’s time to go, Big Brother.
Network Ten has today confirmed it’s often controversial reality TV program will be axed after eight years on the air.
The current series, which wraps up on July 21, will be the last.
In a statement issued today, Ten’s chief programming officer, David Mott, confirmed the speculation which emerged on a Big Brother-related internet website yesterday.
“After eight successful seasons and 1,316 episodes, Ten today announced that Big Brother will not be returning in 2009,” the Network Ten statement reads. “The 2008 season finale will air on Monday 21 July.”
Mr Mott also said the series was “ending on a high” despite flagging viewer numbers, and persistent questions by fans over the selection of radio personalities Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O to compere the 2008 series.
They replaced Gretel Killeen, who had hosted the show since the first episode.
“Big Brother is the undisputed grand-daddy of modern, commercial reality television in Australia,” Mr Mott also said. “Today’s reality dramas have all, on some level, been inspired by Big Brother. We are immensely proud of the show and the incredible success it has enjoyed since premiering in 2001.
“We’re ending the season on a high, largely thanks to the talents of Kyle and Jackie O, who have presented yet another successful season.”
Sandilands and Jackie O had come under fire from hundreds of fans on Big Brother forums and websites, with many calling for Killeen to be reinstated.
Speculation of the show’s axeing started late yesterday on the internet website, Behind Big Brother.
“Our sources inside the Big Brother compound tell us the announcement was unexpected for the BB producers, who did what they felt was in the best interests of the show and believed this year would be a season benchmark,” the website said.
“We have also been informed the Big Brother concept will return to Channel 10. However, this won’t be seen until at least 2010. No word on whether this project is part of the Endemol Big Brother franchise.”
In Big Brother, a group of people are locked inside a house and filmed 24 hours a day at Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast before being voted off week by week over about thre months. The concept runs in a number of countries, starting in the Netherlands in 1999.
The ratings for Big Brother have dwindled this year, although the introduction last week of international sex symbol Pamela Anderson gave it its best results of the season.