CBS orders an eighth season of 'Big Brother' for Summer 2007
By Steve Rogers and Christopher Rocchio, 02/02/2007
CBS announced on Thursday that it has ordered an eighth installment of Big Brother, the long-running reality series that has been a key part of the network's summer programming since it premiered in July 2000.
While Big Brother 8's format will remain similar to the show's previous editions, the new season will feature one significant behind-the-scenes change -- a reduced role for Arnold Shapiro, who, along with Allison Grodner, had executive produced Big Brother's last six seasons (Shapiro and Grodner were brought on board after the show's disasterous first season.)
After Big Brother 4, Shapiro/Grodner Productions, Shapiro and Grodner's production company, had signed a deal to produce three more Big Brother editions for CBS. However one year later, Shapiro and Grodner announced that while they would continue to work together on all their existing Shapiro/Grodner Productions projects and commitments, they'd decided to begin developing any new projects separately.
"We're at different stages in our respective careers," Grodner, who is more than 20 years younger than Shapiro, told Daily Variety in October 2004. "It's an amicable split of projects and directions."
While Shapiro will remain an executive consultant for Big Brother 8, the show will be produced by Allison Grodner Productions, Grodner's production company. Rich Meehan, a former co-executive producer who was promoted to executive producer for last summer's Big Brother: All-Stars, will return and executive produce Big Brother 8 with Grodner.
"[I'm] gratified that Allison and I were able to successfully 're-invent' Big Brother 2 and turn the series into an annual summer hit," Shapiro told Variety this week.
"We consider All-Stars sort of the end of an era, and now we're getting a chance to start once again with a fresh cast and new twists," Grodner told Variety.
However while Big Brother 8 will begin a "new era" and feature a fresh set of houseguests, one familiar face will remain -- long-time Big Brother host Julie Chen. According to CBS, Chen, the wife of CBS Corporation president Les Moonves, will return to host the show's eighth season.
In addition to Big Brother, Shapiro/Grodner Productions produced numerous other reality series over the years, including The Family and Brat Camp for ABC, UPN's The Road To Stardom With Missy Elliott, Showtime's Family Business, and Blow Out and Situation: Comedy for Bravo.