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Big Brother Germany

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Also known as  'Promi Big Brother'
Created by  John de Mol
Original language(s)  German & English
First episode date  28 February 2000
Language  German
1.9/10 IMDb

Genre  Reality
Country of origin  Germany
No. of seasons  12
Number of seasons  12
Big Brother Germany Big Brother 5 Germany

Networks  RTL Television, RTL II, Sky Deutschland, Sat.1, sixx, Tele 5, MTV2 Pop
Presented by  Jochen Schropp, Oliver Geissen
Cast  Ruth Moschner, Oliver Geissen, Oliver Pocher, Oliver Petszokat, Erika Berger
Similar  Big Brother, Big Brother (Sweden), Promi Big Brother, Big Brother Norway, Big Brother (UK)

Big Brother Germany is a reality show on RTL II (with a 24h live broadcast on German pay channel Premiere/Sky). It was the first adapted version based on the original Dutch Big Brother series by Endemol in 1999. Big Brother Germany first aired on 28 February 2000 and ended 11 years later on 12 September 2011. After a two-year hiatus the series was brought and revamped by Sat.1 as Promi Big Brother, the first celebrity series of the German version. Cindy aus Marzahn and Oliver Pocher were announced as the new presenters of the revived show in August 2013.


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A group of people (called the Housemates) live together in a house, where 24 hours a day their every word and every action is recorded by cameras and microphones in all the rooms in the House. Access to television, the Internet, print media, and time is prohibited. In addition, the housemates live in complete confinement; they have no access to the outside world. At least once a week, the housemates secretly nominate two housemate they wish to face a public vote to evict. The two or more housemates with the most votes face the public vote. The viewing public decides which of them gets evicted through text message votes or phone calls. The nominee with the most votes is evicted and leaves the house.

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Should their stay inside the house become difficult for them to bear, a housemate is allowed to voluntary leave at any time during the game. In the event of a withdrawal from the house, a replacement housemate usually enters in their place.

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In the final week of each season, the viewers vote for which of the remaining people in the House should win the prize money and be crowned the winner of Big Brother.


Big Brother Germany is regularly broadcast by RTL II, in early seasons also by RTL Television.

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Big Brother 1 was broadcast 6 nights a week. From Monday to Friday was aired 50min highlights show at 20:15 to 21:10 on RTL II. An hour-long decision show, Die Entscheidung, was aired on Sunday from 20:15 to 21:15 on RTL II.

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Big Brother 2 and Big Brother 3 were broadcast six nights a week by RTL II and 1 night a week by RTL Television. RTL II broadcast 50min daily recaps from Sunday to Friday at 20:15 to 21:10. RTL Television broadcast 2h decision show (Die Entscheidung) in Saturday at 20:15 to 22:15. Sometimes the decision show had 3h length.

Big Brother 2 and Big Brother 3 also had a spin-off show "Family and Friends", presented by Aleksandra Bechtel. The show was aired live in afternoon or late night.

Big Brother 4 (The Battle) was broadcast six nights a week; from Monday to Saturday. Day recaps were broadcast from Monday to Friday at 19:00 to 20:00. Every episode was a recap of previous day in the house, except Monday episode covered Saturday and Sunday highlights. The decision show (Die Entscheidung) took place every Monday at 21:15 to 23:15. All episodes were broadcast by RTL II.

From Big Brother 5 to Big Brother 11, the show was broadcast seven nights a week. Day recaps took place every night at 19:00 to 20:00. The decision show (Die Entscheidung) took place every Monday at 21:15 to 23:15. All episodes were broadcast by RTL II.

Internet page and pay-channels provide live feeds.

Changes of the Concept

Since the start of its first season in February 2000, Big Brother Germany went through numerous changes in its concept. Here are some significant examples of the progress of modifying the rules of the original game:

  • "10 housemates live together in one house.": increased in season 2 to 12 housemates, in season #5, #6 and #11 the number of housemates is 15.
  • "One housemates leaves the house forever when he/she gets evicted.": changed in season 2 with letting the first evictee return to the show.
  • "Only the housemates have to decide which of them gets nominated.": changed in season 2 with automatically putting all housemates up for eviction in the final week. Besides in season 7 the viewers could decide which of them gets nominated. (Only 1 time)
  • "None of the housemates know each other before entering the house.": changed in season 3 with a couple in a romantic relationship entering the house.
  • "The prize money is a certainty": changed in season 4 with letting the final four housemates doing challenges and giving them a quarter of the original prize money for every succeeded nathan challenge.
  • "The complete household lives together in one group": changed in season 4 with dividing the house into two parts with a "rich" and a "poor" area and splitting the household into two competing teams (that was changed in season five to three different teams). Season 6 gets three different houses where the housemates have to live in.
  • "All the housemates live together in one house": changed in season 6 with building a whole "Big Brother village" including five houses and a farm.
  • "The show runs for three months": changed in season 5 with expanding the show to one year and in season 6 when the show was to run indefinitely (see below).
  • "The show is supposed to run for a certain time": changed in season 6 with the announcement that the show would run as long as the ratings were acceptable (it actually lasted 363 days).
  • "Only the winner receives prize money": changed in season 6 with the creation of three different areas for the housemates where they had work and earn money, which was given to them when they got evicted (housemates who left the house voluntary didn't receive any money).
  • "The housemates get no information from outside": changed in season 5 where the housemates were allowed to watch the RTL2 News after winning a game and in order to learn about a terrorist attack.
  • "The housemates don't get letters from their family and friends or meet them while inside the house.": changed in season 5 where some housemates got letters/visits from outside as rewards for winning games.
  • Smoking in the house

    Unlike in many other houses, in the Big Brother Germany house smoking is allowed outdoors and indoors. This is because Germany has no smoking ban.

    Reception and popularity

    Big Brother was social phenomena when it began in 2000. At some point in the first season it hits 70% rating share. Despite massive popularity, ratings in the third season started to decline. RTL II decided to put the show off air for one year (2002).

    The program returned in 2003 with completely modified format and lower expectations. Much higher ratings and sponsors interest resulted in following season. The fifth season reached up to high expectations of the producers. The high success of the fifth series resulted in back-to-back season, which was supposed to run for at least few years. However ratings started to declaim and the show was hiding in the shadow of its former glory. The producers decided to end series after its first year on air.

    Year-and-half latter (in 2007) RTL II decided to return old original format of the program, marking the seventh series as "Back To Basics". Despite the re-newed format was not a rating hit, but it reached up to producers low expectations.

    The producers tried to renew the format for eleventh series, because of tenth series low achievements (Finale of tenth series had 1.39 million viewers). Viewing figures however decline in eleventh series, but producers made an impression of success with duration and prize extension. The ratings in eleventh series rarely reach 10% share in eleventh series.


    Big Brother Germany Wikipedia