CBS will be presenting an all-new season of its popular Big Brother reality series exclusively on its All Access digital platform. The show, which will premiere this fall, will also continue to air on the broadcast version of the network during each summer, where it is currently in the midst of its 18th season.
The surprise report comes as rumors of a possible new season to premiere earlier than next summer circulated, when it was revealed that the show had recently re-opened its official casting process for potential new contestants, a move that isn't usually made until sometime in the winter preceding the debut of the next year's summer series.
The new series, which will be the 19th installment of the franchise, will run approximately 10 weeks, about a month shorter than this year's summer network broadcast, which is also the longest season ever for the show. Big Brother has been one of CBS' most consistent summer performers, regularly placing in the top 10 in the week's Nielsen ratings.
While the one-hour show airs three times a week, on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights, many fans view additional content on the 24/7 live feeds that follow the activity in the Big Brother house and are currently made available via CBS All Access. As one of the most popular features of the All Access digital platform, CBS is clearly hoping that the show's fans will stay on board and continue to pay the $5.99 monthly fee to view the new series, which will also feature 24/7 live feeds.
In that regard, reports claim that CBS will be premiering the new version of the series almost immediately after the current season's 90-minute season finale, scheduled for Sept. 21. Big Brother 19 will reportedly debut within days of that finale. While the show is scheduled to be produced by the same team that runs the broadcast version of the show, there's no word yet on whether popular host Julie Chen will appear. Chen's duties for CBS also include hosting panel chat show The Talk, a new season of which also begins in September.
For those wondering whether fans will burn out on the show because of potential overexposure, the UK version of Big Brother's performance could provide some clues. The UK's Big Brother successfully airs three series per year, one regular version and two celebrity versions, one of which airs back-to-back with the regular version during the summer, and one that airs in January.
Thus far, CBS has only aired one series of Big Brother per year, each summer, except in 2008, when it famously aired a second series during the regular broadcast season when the writers' strike left holes in its schedule usually reserved for scripted shows. That year's second version was a decent, if not spectacular, performer for the network.