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C4 lines up teenage Big Brother

To answer the call for educational programming focused on the young adult market, the UK's Channel 4 has commissioned another version of the Big Brother format, this time with teenage contestants.

Heather Rabbatts from C4's educational arm, 4Learning, told C21 at the World Education Market in Lisbon that the new Endemol show will be called Teen Big Brother: The Experiment. {We're going to take a group of young adults and see how they collaborate,{ she said.

Although dates haven't yet been finalised for the programme, Rabbatts expects the teen version to launch at the end of this year or in the first quarter of next year.

No word yet on how the contestants will be chosen, but the channel plans to use the same types of audition processes Endemol has used in the past for its adult versions.

The news comes as Channel 4 launches its fourth season of the regular Big Brother this Friday.

4Learning is also set to commission Citizen Space, a programme that will educate young adults about globalisation issues. The channel will give money to young people, who will then travel to other countries to experiment on how to improve the lives of others.

{This show should have some international perspective and should appeal to a worldwide audience,{ Rabbatts said.

In the UK, the government has recently announced measures to increase vocational studies in schools. These two programmes, as well as other new commissions, will help 4Learning develop a marriage between academic and vocational studies for the new curriculum planned for September 2003. Rabbatts said young adult programming is increasingly popular in European countries.

Rabbatts said: {The most transferable areas for this type of educational programming is personal health, body awareness, and any show that highlights issues around growing up, such as drugs, first jobs, leaving home for the first time.{

She said it's a real challenge to do these programmes effectively, but producers are now finding ways to attract this fickle audience. {Most people here in Lisbon, however, tend to concentrate on the younger audience,{ she said.

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