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Big Brother has been a staple of summer programming for millions ever since its debut back in July 2000. Season 18 will be winding up in September, and the sudden loss of the show after three nights of coverage per week may be rough. Luckily, fans won't have to wonder if the upcoming season finale will be the series finale. Big Brother has gotten a big renewal order. The summer program will be back on broadcast television for Season 19 in 2017 and Season 20 in 2018.
The major renewal isn't a huge surprise. Ratings have been solid for CBS in Season 18, and Big Brother scored a two-season renewal back when Season 16 was still on the air. The viewing numbers to date for all three weekly installments have landed CBS top spots in valuable demographics. More people than ever are watching Big Brother on digital platforms as well. Digital streams are up a whopping 33% over Season 17 in 2015.
Big Brother is unique among primetime series for occupying multiple primetime slots per week on a major network. Season 18 has been airing new episodes on Sundays and Wednesdays, and then following with a live eviction installment on Thursdays. Julie Chen has hosted Big Brother from the beginning. The show added seven more HD cameras to the Big Brother house - bringing the total count up to 87 - for Season 18 to catch even more of the contestants' movements as they try to make alliances and avoid eviction. The $500,000 prize for the last remaining houseguest remains enough of a motivator to bring in a crew of eager competitors each season.
Interestingly, the renewal order for Seasons 19 and 20 came shortly after news broke that another version of Big Brother was slated to be available for viewing this fall after the end of Season 18. The next installment is evidently not being called a Season 19, and there will be some key differences between the regular summer runs of Big Brother and the fall series. A ten-week season will air exclusively on the streaming service CBS All Access as part of CBS' ongoing efforts to attract subscribers. Between the bonus Big Brother series and the upcoming new Star Trek series, All Access could well see a significant boost over the next couple of months. Fans who have stuck with Big Brother for even a few of the 18 seasons to date may be anxious enough for more than they'd be willing to shell out the extra bucks for Big Brother between summer sessions.
Big Brother isn't the only summer series that CBS has renewed for 2017. Zoo fans can rejoice now that they can count on a third season next summer. PETA is pretty bummed, but it's definitely good news for viewers who have gotten hooked on the show since its premiere in 2015.