Season launch cancelled after fire guts ‘Big Brother’ house

The launch of the new series of the popular Africa’s Big Brother reality TV show has been postponed indefinitely after fire gutted its purpose-built production venue, organisers announced on Wednesday.

The latest season of the game show, which locks contestants from around the continent in a house and films them around the clock for 91 days, was due to open on Sunday. But the organisers M-Net and Endemol South Africa said a “devastating fire” at the Johannesburg house meant the show will not launch as scheduled. 

No one was injured in the fire on Tuesday and the cause has not yet been established. Producers are busy looking for an alternative venue to house the contestants from 14 African countries. 

“However, as this production has highly technical infrastructure, camera and edit requirements, an alternative is not immediately available,” the organisers said in a statement. “Every effort will be made to find a solution as quickly as possible to ensure that Africa’s biggest reality TV show will continue.” 

Big Brother originated 14 years ago on Dutch television and has since been adapted in many countries around the world. Africa’s version of the show was launched in 2003 and was first won by a Zambian contestant. This year’s prize money was set at $300 000. – AFP

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