Could we see a Big Brother merger in North America?

CBS Fall Schedule Celebration
CBS Fall Schedule Celebration / Monica Schipper/GettyImages

Big Brother Canada’s potential end may be the beginning of bigger things for the franchise in North America. Earlier this month, Corus Entertainment, announced its upcoming line-up, and the reality show was not on its Canadian schedule. Troy Reed, the executive vice president of broadcast networks with the company, confirmed this recently, though he added that “No final decision has been made as yet.”

How has Big Brother Canada fared in the ratings?

In 2014, a Canadian version of Big Brother hit the airwaves to the delight of legions of reality TV fans in the Great White North. The show began modestly on cable TV in Canada but quickly grew to become a massive hit with viewers, to the point that national TV network Global picked it up ahead of season three. As with many popular reality franchises, though, it’s not maintained the high ratings we saw at the beginning of its run.

Neda Kalanter, Ika Wong
Shaw Media And Insight Productions Wrap "Big Brother Canada" National Casting Tour In Toronto / Sonia Recchia/GettyImages

Since reaching the double-digit mark for seasons, though, there’s been a significant decline among viewers watching the show. Most of the episodes in season 10 are rated near the bottom of the weekly results. Things didn’t improve in the next two seasons, even when their studio got live audiences again for evictions. The Canadian series was dropped from its US streaming platforms in 2023, while fewer aspiring houseguests are trying out every year.

Big Brother Canada has experienced its share of low moments through a dozen seasons of the show. Season eight was cancelled due to COVID-19, forcing the following season to be without an audience for evictions. This is not the first time the shows have been seemingly on life support. After the conclusion of season five, the show announced it was going on hiatus, leading to an online petition to save the franchise. Ultimately, this managed to keep the franchise afloat, but they seemingly had to have numerous advertisements to remain in business.

Will Big Brother Canada survive?

As one of the select few who had the privilege of being a Big Brother Canada houseguest, it pains me to share my honest opinion about the show’s future. This is the second time they may be going on hiatus despite the bringing back memorable contestants. Adding former contestants should automatically draw fans in, but season 12 was the second time in this series that it did the opposite. If that can’t increase ratings, then it’s hard to imagine what will. All of the major sponsors in the world cannot make up for such a massive decline in viewership. That said, there is still a loyal following of fans doing everything to keep the show alive, with an online petition that has over 5,000 signatures. It could save it once again, but will that rescue it for good or delay the inevitable?

While I’m not optimistic Big Brother Canada will survive, I believe there’s still a way Canadians can participate and fans can watch.

How Big Brother US could change in the future?

If Big Brother Canada doesn’t survive, there’s no reason to believe aspiring houseguests can’t still get on the show. Big Brother US is preparing for another season and maintains a consistent fan base despite Julie Chen’s robotic nature. They’ve also had celebrity editions and could have another one in the future. Is there any reason why they couldn’t include Canadians on Big Brother US?

For years, Canadians dreamed of being on Survivor, and though it took longer than many had hoped, that dream became a reality in season 39. CBS operates Big Brother US and has brought on contestants from various backgrounds. American Big Brother has more days than the Canadian version, and you’d think you would have room for aspiring Canadians to try out. Meanwhile, American Big Brother casting director Robyn Kass has been a part of the process in Canada from the beginning. She and her team know the Canadian landscape well and understand how to scout memorable TV personalities. On paper, this seems like an ideal solution.

Memorable Canadian Survivor contestants

Since season 39, Survivor has had its share of memorable Canadian contestants participate. The first one, former NHL hockey player Tom Laidlaw, was among the most boring Canadian contestants, but most since then have been massive hits.

Erika and Maryanne won seasons 41 and 42 of the show, respectively, while others like Kane, Kaleb and Venus have been, at times, polarizing but memorable, depending on how you look at it. Then there’s Celebrity Big Brother, which Tom Green thrived on during the second season.

I believe Canadian contestants have given Survivor fans a breath of fresh air by doing something different, and they could do the same for the US Big Brother. Meanwhile, Big Brother US airs on Global TV in Canada, so there wouldn’t need to be any significant programming changes.

If this happens, fans may not get as much Big Brother on a yearly basis, but at least they’d get to compete and continue to watch the show they love.

Next. How American Survivor can make the UK version a success. How American Survivor can make the UK version a success. dark