TV ratings: Even Pamela Anderson can’t deliver for Channel 5’s “public” Big Brother

Reality show fails to attract big viewing figures without the celebrities on board

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An average audience of 2.6 million viewers (a 12.5 per cent share) tuned in to see the launch show of Channel 5’s first “public” Big Brother on Friday night between 9.30pm and 11pm.

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Despite the “twist” of former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson turning up to squat in the house for a few days, the reality show failed to deliver the big numbers for Richard Desmond’s channel that Celebrity Big Brother has done for the past three weeks. 

The aforementioned D-list fest, eventually won by My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, began with an astounding 5.1 million viewers (21.9 per cent share) – the fourth best rated programme ever on the channel – before settling down to a very healthy run in the mid two-millions most nights at 10pm. 

However, early indications show that watching the general public doing not much in a house in Elstree is of less appeal to the Channel 5 audience than watching previously exposed has-beens and wannabes smoking and drinking in the garden. 

Saturday and Sunday saw a further drop in BB’s audience with only 1.4 million tuning in per night to follow the fortunes of Mark, Maisy, Louise and company over the weekend.

In comparison, the launch of the final series of Big Brother on Channel 4, which began on 9 June 2010, pulled in an average audience of 4.6m, a 19.6 per cent audience share.  The 87-episode series went on to average just over three million viewers.

Although it’s to be expected that the viewing drops off on a reality show after its “big launch night”, I’m sure Channel 5 execs will be disappointed with the early numbers and may start to worry if they slide any further.

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Big Brother, now hosted by Brian Dowling, is scheduled to run for two months on Channel 5, with a further series of Celebrity Big Brother slated for early 2012.