Corus, Insight end production on BBCAN season eight

There are no plans to resume production at a later date, with the season set to wrap with two finale episodes.

Arisa CoxInsight Productions and Corus Entertainment have ended production on the eighth season of Big Brother Canada due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the companies said Tuesday.

In a joint statement, producer and broadcaster said there are no plans to resume season-eight production at a later date. The season will end with two final episodes, airing on Global on Wednesday, March 25 and Wednesday, April 1. The season, which has been airing three times a week on Global, had previously been scheduled to continue for another couple of months. The final episode documents the announcement that the season has come to an end, and the resulting house guest reaction to this news.

Big Brother Canada is a labour of love for so many, and even though it hurts to say goodbye to the season, it’s the right thing to do,” said Arisa Cox, long-time host of the show, which stopped audience members from attending live tapings more than two weeks ago to address safety concerns.

Earlier this week, online publication The Logic reported that a number of crew members had resigned over the fact work on the show was continuing despite rising fears over the coronavirus pandemic.

Insight responded to the reports on Monday by saying it was “taking every precaution to keep our crew and houseguests safe.” The Toronto prodco said those measures included: placing sanitizers at every entrance; daily professional cleaning and disinfection of all edit suites, control rooms, studio spaces, and offices; and adjusting the creative so that more staff could work from home. A medical professional had verified that there are no symptoms of COVID-19 in the house, added Insight, which said it was “aggressively” monitoring the production and constantly evaluating [its] practices and adjusting if necessary.”

“The safety of the crew and houseguests is paramount to Insight and as such we are taking every precaution to ensure a healthy set and workplace,” continued the statement.

Insight’s Erin Brock issued an expanded statement to Playback Daily on Wednesday, following news of production ending. “It has been hard to read all of the inaccurate information out there about what our practices have been and how we have been treating our crew. I want to be crystal clear that our crew and the houseguest’s well-being has always been our No. 1 priority and at the heart of our decision making.  These times have been so uncertain and scary for all of us and I can honestly say that we felt great compassion for each individual working on the show and acknowledged that everyone had different needs during these times,” she said.

“We communicated with the crew that our doors were always open and that no one had to remain at work, that we would support any decision each individual made and that if they chose not to work that was completely OK. We also communicated that if they made the decision to go home it would never effect their future work with us,” added the Big Brother Canada showrunner.

Season eight of Big Brother Canada has been a significant ratings driver for Global since it premiered on March 4, airing three times a week. During its first week, all three episodes landed on Numeris’ top-30 TV chart, with those episodes pulling in an average audience (2+) of 1.37 million, 1.17 million and 1.13 million. It was the same story in the second week, with the series drawing an average audience of more than 1 million viewers to each episode. In week two, its Sunday night broadcast garnered an average audience (2+) of 1.33 million, while the Wednesday episode drew 1.15 million and Thursday’s episode garnered 1.08 million.

A spokesperson for Corus Entertainment told Playback Daily that Big Brother Canada will hold its Wednesday 7 p.m. time slot with its final two episodes on March 25 and April 1. After that, Entertainment Tonight and ET Canada will move back in to their timeslots at 7 p.m. and 7:30pm, respectively. On Thursdays beginning this week, Superstore moves into simulcast at 8 p.m., with repeat episodes of comedies like Man with a Plan at 8:30pm. On Sundays, The Wall moves in to simulcast at 8 p.m.