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Classic reality show Big Brother to return to UK with ITV, Banijay’s Initial

Big Brother first aired in the UK in 2000

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has confirmed that it is set to revive classic reality show Big Brother, becoming the third terrestrial channel to air the format in the country.

The format will return to UK screens in 2023 on ITV2 and the company’s soon-to-launch streaming service ITVX. Airing across six weeks, it will be produced by Banijay-owned Initial.

The show originated in the Netherlands in 1999, created by John De Mol, and the UK was one of the first international adapters when commercially funded publcaster Channel 4 commissioned a version in 2000.

C4 ditched the show in 2010 after 11 series but it was quickly picked up by rival terrestrial Channel 5 following its takeover by Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell group. C5 aired seasons 12 to 19 with an associated celebrity version before it dropped the show in 2018.

Paul Mortimer, director of reality commissioning and acquisitions and controller of ITV2, ITVBe and CITV, ordered the ITV version alongside commissioner Peter Tierney.

Big Brother’s return to UK screens marks the first major Banijay format commission for entertainment and format producers Natalka Znak and Claire O’Donohoe since they joined the group.

Banijay UK acquired format specialist prodco Znak TV and appointed founder Znak as CEO of its Remarkable Entertainment and Initial labels to create a new unscripted group in December.

The company subsequently hired entertainment format producer O’Donohoe as director of programmes to work with long-time creative collaborator Znak.

Mortimer said: “This refreshed, contemporary new series of Big Brother will contain all the familiar format points that kept viewers engaged and entertained the first time round, but with a brand new look and some additional twists that speak to today’s audience. We’re beyond excited to bring this iconic series to ITV2.”

Znak added: “Big Brother is the original and best reality format and one that I have never made before, so it’s a huge privilege to be making an all-new version with ITV2 and ITVX, working with Claire O’Donohoe and the talented team at Initial, Katy Manley and Cat Lynch.”

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