The television show that brought actress Shilpa Shetty international renown is going off the air. Channel 4 has announced its Celebrity Big Brother programme will be dropped at the end of the year.
While Shetty was being bullied and humiliated inside the Big Brother house, the programme's ratings were soaring. Yet in a curious turnaround, while Shetty not only emerged winner of the Big Brother contest, but also earned millions and became the darling of Britain, the racial controversy the show earned while she was participating in it has spelt its doom.
Channel 4 said the move was part of a wider decision to cancel a host of serials and programmes including You Are What You Eat, Brat Camp and It's Me Or The Dog but Celebrity Big Brother was one of its most popular shows. Its spokesman indirectly accepted that following the notoriety it earned this year, it was time to rest the format.
A respectable family docu-drama will take Big Brother's place. It is called The Family, very similar to Paul Watson's classic fly on the wall documentary 30 years ago, which followed an ordinary British family as it went about its everyday life.
"I think Big Brother is a brilliant show and I'm sure the format will benefit from having a little breathing space. When faced with the choice between a proven commercial hit and taking risks with the new and untried this January, we chose the latter, "Julian Bellamy, Channel 4's head of programmes, said. "This is a public service decision, an investment in the future, which I don't believe any other commercial broadcaster would make."