Big Brother show spawns brethren

A Swedish television production company, Kamera, has developed a concept called -- strangely -- Fucking Famous. Viewers will follow the progress of a group of 10 people who want to be well-known. The audience will also be able to influence the group's fortunes, much as it did with Big Brother.

Magnus Zaar, senior director of content development with Kamera, feels that television entertainment is inevitably merging with the Net.

"Television is just part of a multi-platform solution involving the Net, mobile phones and PDAs to get the viewer more involved in the show," he says. The bulk of the content of Fucking Famous is on the Web site, creating a commercially viable platform, he adds. His firm will sell this content to ISPs, which will in turn make money on the traffic it generates.

Though not yet launched, the Fucking Famous concept has already been sold to Endemol Entertainment, the television production company behind Big Brother. Gary Carter, who developed Big Brother, is understood to have taken an interest in the concept. Endemol is part of the Telefònica Group and provides content for broadcast, Internet, third-generation mobile telephones and other distribution platforms.

Kamera's Zaar does not want to reveal too much about the new show yet. "Endemol wants to have a big launch of Fucking Famous in countries across Europe sometime early next year, so we want to have the details ready before we talk about the actual show," he says.

Various versions of Big Brother around the world broke a number of audience viewing records. The show was broadcast on the Net 24 hours a day, and highlights were shown on TV.

Television audiences and Web site traffic were huge. Endemol sold licences for the show to Web portals such as WorldOnLine. In Sweden, more people visited the Big Brother Website than watched the actual show on television.

The show brought together a group of strangers, who were separated from the outside world for about three months without telephones, newspapers, radio or television. Every week, while trying to get on as a community, the group had to nominate two members to be evicted, with the casting vote coming from viewers voting online and by telephone.

The Big Brother concept will soon appear in Australia -- with auditions underway for a local 'cast'.

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