New Delhi: Facing criticism on social media, producers of Germany’s Big Brother TV reality show have decided to finally inform its 14 contestants about the coronavirus pandemic in a special show that is to air live at 7 pm (local time) Tuesday night.
A majority of the contestants have been in isolation since 6 February at a house in West Germany’s Cologne, and are not aware of the spread of the virus.
While four new contestants had entered the house on 9 March, they were told not to speak about coronavirus to the other contestants. So most of them have been cut-off from updates about the pandemic, which has so far claimed more than 7,000 lives globally.
The show is designed to be a televised isolated/quarantine experience among strangers in a house.
When questioned about their decision to keep contestants in the dark about COVID-19, the show’s producers, for the TV channel Sat.1, said information blackout is only lifted in emergency situations like a family member falling ill.
They also claimed to have taken “special hygiene measures” to protect the cast, but did not specify what these were.
Host and German actor Jochen Schropp, along with the show’s resident doctor, are expected to inform housemates about the pandemic, the German government’s response to the public health crisis and how to stay safe.
They will also be allowed to receive video messages from their relatives.
Big Brother Canada, Brazil contestants also not informed
Many social media users have reacted to the news, with some even saying that the episode might be worth learning German for.
The cast of Big Brother in Germany doesn’t know about covid-19 and they’re gonna tell them in a live TV special. I have to learn German by tomorrow. https://t.co/a0zOrIUeCD
— dhm (@dhm) March 16, 2020
oh to be a resident of the current season of Big Brother in a hot tub with no information on the state of the coronavirus pandemic pic.twitter.com/hDgAu8UkAS
— vetos (@vetos_) March 16, 2020
When the show started in early February, the first few cases of COVID-19 outside of Wuhan had just begun to be reported. Germany now has close to 7,000 confirmed cases and 14 deaths.
On Monday, the country had become the latest to close its borders, with Chancellor Angela Merkel ordering a ban on large gatherings, including religious services and a shutdown of schools, clubs, bars, playgrounds etc.
Big Brother was initially a British reality television show that ran for 19 seasons in the UK. It has since been adapted by different countries, including India which has its own version of the show called Bigg Boss.
Like Big Brother, Germany, participants of Big Brother, Canada, and Big Brother, Brazil have reportedly also not been informed about news related to coronavirus.
this bit of canadian Big Brother where housemates have no idea why there wasn't a live audience crowd at evictions. this is what has finally tipped me over the edge pic.twitter.com/jqneBgp206
— Amitai Landau-Pope (@taitoush) March 14, 2020
In Canada, a new season of Big Brother started 2 weeks ago. The contestants have no clue about the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic. When someone is voted out of the show, they come out to a studio with no audience.
Contestants talk about it then production shuts them down. pic.twitter.com/hixPc4KEf9
— C.J. Prince (@cj_prin) March 15, 2020