Vetoes, Head of Household competitions, slop, Zingbot — every fan has their own reasons for why they watch Big Brother. But, this year brought the first American installment of Celebrity Big Brother. Will Celebrity Big Brother return for another season on CBS? While no official word has come down yet on the future of the show, there are some international reasons why it makes sense to hope.
Of course, the Celebrity Big Brother season that concludes on CBS on Feb. 25 isn't the first star-studded version of the show ever. For years, there have been other seasons of Celebrity Big Brother, in many countries, such as India, Bulgaria, Portugal, Australia, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the Philippines. But nowhere has Celebrity Big Brother been more successful than in the UK. The UK version of Celebrity Big Brother has aired not one, two, three, or four seasons… but a whopping 21 seasons. Logic dictates that if Celebrity Big Brother can be that successful in the UK, it has the potential to find that level of success here in the United States.
So, why then hadn’t the show been tried here sooner? According to host Julie Chen, a celebrity edition of Big Brother had been something the producers of the series have been discussing internally for nearly two decades. In an interview with the New York Post, she shared that the idea was being debated since the original show’s second season. “We talked about it around Season 2 … So that was like 2001? It was so early on that I remember someone in the meeting said, ‘We’ve got to get Paris Hilton,’” she said. “I think Roseanne Barr was intrigued, but then fell out and we ended up not doing it.” Chen explained that a celebrity season like this one didn’t happen sooner than this year because of financial reasons. “It’s been explored again as recently as a few years ago and the economics just didn’t make sense,” she said. “But we found a way and now here we are.”
Determining if the American version of Celebrity Big Brother will get a second season also can be related to the success of other celebrity-style reality television series. Thinking back on all of the numerous shows that have featured celebrities, it is hard to think of one lasting for only a single season. Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Apprentice, and Celebrity Wife Swap all had (or are still having) longer runs. It seems likely that at least one more season could air, to see if the interest that this series generated was something fans really wanted, versus the success being a fluke.
For as much as fans wanted to see a Celebrity Big Brother, Chen was just as enthusiastic. Now that it's airing, she feels like a second season is a true possibility. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she responded to question about Celebrity Big Brother becoming a yearly winter tradition. “I wouldn’t rule it out! Who knows? It’s definitely possible,” Chen said. “With these ratings, it did what we hoped, as opposed to running repeats of the current slate of shows. It all depends on how well all the shows on the air are doing.” She didn’t come out and confirm a new season though, saying that it’s been a bit difficult for CBS to work out schedule-wise. “But don’t forget, B.B. takes up a lot of real estate on the prime-time schedule. We are used to having at least three nights to air in a week,” she said. “CBS is known for having a strong schedule of shows year-round, so it’s hard to say right now what will happen next winter.” This year, Celebrity Big Brother provided counter-programming to NBC's primetime airing of the Winter Olympics.
If you’re a Celebrity Big Brother fan, feel free to get excited! While there is still no official confirmation of a season after this one, all of the signs for the future of the series are good. It only seems a matter of time before more celebrities grace the Big Brother house.