CBS and ENDEMOL Entertainment, on Wednesday
enlisted America Online Inc. for their new “Big Brother” reality television series — a Real World-like game show program in which ten strangers living in a
house will have their every move recorded by cameras.
The exclusive partnership with America Online
calls for the
online service to create a co-branded “Big Brother” interactive area,
where viewers will be able to view 24-hour streaming video feeds of house
activities and participate in chats and viewer polls. This will be
available both on AOL’s proprietary service, and on its Web site, although
AOL subscribers will get more video feeds and live chats with cast members.
The deal also calls for CBS and AOL to cross-promote one another
extensively. The TV network will promote the co-branded site on every
episode of the show, and AOL will promote the series on the AOL service and
“This is an exciting agreement on so many levels,” said Nancy Tellem,
president of CBS Entertainment.
“It utilizes the resources and marketing expertise of CBS, AOL and ENDEMOL
— three of the most successful media companies in the world. And it
positions Big Brother to be one of the most ambitious convergences of
television and the Internet seen to date on American television.”
The Big Brother television series, which debuts on July 6, will put 10
strangers in a house on a tight budget. Every week, the house residents
will nominate two their housemates to be expelled, and the audience will
vote on which one is actually removed from the house. The last contestant
left in the house will win $500,000.
The program originated in the Netherlands and is currently airing in
Germany and Spain. It has been a huge hit so far, and the US version teams
the original producers — ENDEMOL — with CBS.