Big Brother Does The Business For Five

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It’s early days… but Channel 5 must be delighted with the ratings it achieved for Celebrity Big Brother – the iconic Endemol reality show that channel owner Richard Desmond resuscitated after Channel 4 axed it.

The opening episode of the new series pulled in an average of 5.1m viewers between 2100 and 2230 – one of the highest ratings ever for the Channel. With a 22% share of audience, it beat BBC1's Torchwood: Miracle Day and ITV1 drama Single-Handed. Later in the evening, spin-off show Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side, secured a respectable 1.8m viewers (13.2%).

The 5.1m rating is the highest audience C5 has ever achieved outside sport and movies. The only non-sport or film property to come close was the debut of sitcom Joey in 2005 (4.1m).

Five is rumoured to have paid large sums to secure some of its celebrities, who include Jedward, Sally Bercow and Kerry Katona. However the payback comes in various forms.

Firstly, there are the editorial opportunities for Five’s newspaper and magazine stable-mates (The Star, Express and OK!). Secondly, there’s interest form advertisers. Among brands in the opening episode were Orange and McDonald’s. There was also a ground-breaking product placement deal with Touchstone Pictures.

Note: Others celebrating the return of CBB include Roll To Record, which has secured a multi-series, two-year contract to provide the production infrastructure for Big Brother, CBB and all of the various BB spin-off shows.

Roll To Record, which previously worked on over 10 series of Big Brother for Endemol, is creating and installing three purpose-built HD studios and broadcast galleries on site at Elstree Film Studios. It is also providing the robotic cameras inside the house and other cameras in the studios, and expert technical staff to manage the installation throughout each series run.

RTR Commercial Director Mick Bass said, “We are very excited to be invited back to the Big Brother house. We bring our considerable past experience on the show, together with a state-of-the-art infrastructure and exceptional team.”