A FOURTH Big Brother Africa series is to be launched on DStvâ€™s M-Net Africa channel in September, this time with a 100% increase in prize money â€“â€“ now standing at US$200.
Elizabeth Dziva, public relations manager of MultiChoice Zimbabwe, said such was the popularity of the reality series across Africa that M-Net had decided not only to host a fourth season but also to boost interest among potential contestants and viewers through a significantly increased financial incentive.
â€œAs with the previous three series, Zimbabwe is eligible to have a contestant in the Big Brother house and open auditions will be taking place soon in 18 cities across Africa, including Harare,â€ she said.
The first pan-African series was a world premiere for a continental run of the internationally-popular reality show, which sees â€œhousematesâ€ living in a closed house for three months, battling to be last one left in after regular evictions based on popular vote. Now a household name across Africa, Big Brother has maintained its following, with a huge demand.
This series will be called Big Brother Africa: The Revolution, as it will feature a wide range of innovations and fresh ideas, all designed to stimulate even greater viewer support and make the housemates even more watchable than before.
Open castings in 18 cities will form the widest housemate search yet. In addition, efforts are being made to make this series the most technologically advanced to date â€“â€“ with 40 â€œall-seeing, all-knowingâ€ cameras, and 100 microphones, giving almost twice as much sight and sound capability as seasons one, two and three. Old rules banning conspiracy in the house have been lifted and contestants will be free to forge alliances, discuss strategy openly and play the game in an entirely different way.
Even the voting is set to undergo a complete transformation. This year, audiences will be asked to vote for the housemates they want to see remain in the series rather than the housemates they want to see leave the house. This means housemates will have to become popular and positive so that the best players stay in the game.
The producers are also planning a dramatically revised format, one that is described as â€œbolder and more intense than anything audiences have seen so far.â€
â€œThe sheer scale of production thatâ€™s being planned is phenomenal and will make this ever bigger and better than before. We have also been told to wait for even more surprises and enhancements when the series starts,â€ said Dziva.
â€œThe teamâ€™s been working for months to fine-tune the latest series, focusing on delivering the ultimate Big Brother experience.
â€œAfter three seasons, it was time for a fresh look and time for even brighter ideas. This series is to say thank you to the millions of fans who support Big Brother. So weâ€™re giving them the best gift we can â€“â€“ a show to beat all the others.â€
Following up on this vision, series producers Endemol SA have also been busy analysing and observing other Big Brother successes around the world to develop innovative series elements and inject fresh new creativity into the production.
Big Brother Africa: The Revolution will seek housemates from Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, but this time round though, the search has been widened to include housemates from Mozambique, a dynamic and growing economy, and Ethiopia, which is home to the African Union.
To get the process started, M-Net has started calling for entries for the new season with planned open castings sessions in the 14 participating countries. For Zimbabwe, these will take place on June 9 and 10 at Meikles hotel, Harare at 8 am.
â€œIf you, a friend or a family member thinks himself or herself perfect for the show, they need to get down to a casting venue and get in line to see the selection team. Remember that castings will be held on a â€˜first come first servedâ€™ basis and to qualify for entry, you must be over the age of 21, be fluent in English, have a valid passport and be a citizen of any of the 14 participating countries,â€ Dziva said.
Entrants who impress the selectors at the open castings will head into several follow-up selection rounds before the final housemates are chosen. The successful few will then head into a revolutionised Big Brother Africa house on September 6. After 91 entertaining days, following a chase for the largest reality series prize that M-Net has offered to date â€“â€“ and almost certainly the largest TV cash prize on offer in Africa â€“â€“ one winner will be chosen by voting audiences by the series finale on December 6.Â Â
The action will be screened 24/7 on DStv channel 198, so audiences can keep the usual uninterrupted check, with daily highlights and weekly evictions on M-Net Africa (channel 102).
For more information on Big Brother Africa: The revolutions, interested people can visit www.mnetafrica.com. Â
â€œIn the run-up to series launch, M-Net will have several major announcements regarding the biggest, boldest Big Brother yetâ€, Dziva added.