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‘Big Brother Canada’ host Arisa Cox ‘heartbroken’ by show’s cancellation

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‘Big Brother Canada’ host Arisa Cox ‘heartbroken’ by show’s cancellation

TORONTO — “Big Brother Canada” host Arisa Cox said Thursday she’s “heartbroken” the reality competition series has been evicted from Global TV’s lineup, but is hopeful it can continue elsewhere.

TORONTO — “Big Brother Canada” host Arisa Cox said Thursday she’s “heartbroken” the reality competition series has been evicted from Global TV’s lineup, but is hopeful it can continue elsewhere.

Shortly after Corus Entertainment announced Thursday that it was cancelling the Toronto-shot show, the TV personality said she felt “oddly very proud.”

“We’re in that mode of just looking back and fully understanding what we’ve done for 12 years, which is so very rare in this industry, and we’re filled with pride,” said Cox, who also executive produces the show.

“Canada has that tall poppy syndrome. You’re never supposed to big yourself up too much, but I feel very comfortable bigging ourselves up.”

“Big Brother Canada” was produced by Insight Productions in association with Corus and Banijay Rights.

Showrunner Erin Brock, who is also Insight’s senior vice-president, said the show’s cancellation will result in “between 200 and 250” people losing their contract jobs.

“I feel sad for the TV landscape. I feel sad that such a brilliant show that tells so many Canadian stories is not going to be on the air. I feel sad for all of us who made it,” Brock said.

“I feel grateful, and I also feel like it’s a big loss, honestly.”

Corus said in a statement it considered many factors in the decision, including “audience trends, available support from sponsors and advertisers, and production and licensing costs.”

“Big Brother Canada,” one of several international spinoffs of the original Dutch show, features contestants living together, cut off from the outside world. They compete for a cash prize as they are voted off week-by-week.

Brock said it’s possible the show could get picked up by another Canadian broadcaster, but it’s ultimately up to Banijay, which holds the rights, to shop and sell it.

“What you will see with the franchise quite often in many territories is it will get canceled and then a year or two will pass and then it’ll get greenlit or picked up by another broadcaster or streamer or network, and you’ll find that it’s back on the air,” she said.

Brock said “Big Brother Canada” is considered “one of the best versions” of the format in the world, and that producers of the franchise in other countries have been inspired by its take on the show.

She said the show’s sponsorship opportunities make it attractive to broadcasters, noting it had 11 sponsors least season, from Samsung to Disney.

“I think it’s just kind of undeniable, I do, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see it live another life somewhere else in the future.”

Cox said broadcasters should be interested in picking up the show because it has one of the “most engaged” fan bases on TV.

“Shows this magical with audiences this invested are very, very rare,” she said.

“In the industry now everyone’s looking for content, right? What’s the right content? What are the things that are going to get people addicted and obsessed? And we have it.”

The reaction to “Big Brother Canada’s” cancellation was swift online, with fans expressing their disappointment across social media platforms.

Corus said last season saw a slight dip in ratings, but that it “could not have been happier with the quality and creativity of the production.”

The cancellation comes as the media giant continues to struggle in the current broadcasting landscape. Earlier this month, the company announced it will lose the Canadian rights to several Warner Bros. Discovery lifestyle brands.

Starting in January, Rogers Communications Inc. will be home to HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Magnolia Network and OWN.

Corus said the cancellation was “separate” and not related to any of the changes to its lifestyle brands. The media giant added there are no layoffs at the broadcaster related to the cancellation.

Cox said part of “Big Brother Canada”‘s legacy was that its producers made a conscious effort to have multicultural casts.

“We wanted to make a real push to increase the diversity on Canadian screens, and to have cast and production staff that look like the people who also watch the show. That was a big deal, and it had this ripple effect on the rest of reality TV, even into the States,” she said.

“That fearlessness of wanting to make a splash and not being afraid to do so, I think that was really contagious. And I think every creative who’s worked on the show, whether we come back or not, that’s something that we will take with us always.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2024.

Alex Nino Gheciu, The Canadian Press

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