Big Brother Racism Controversy Helps CBS To Ratings Win

There was no way to know that Sunday’s Big Brother episode would expose the bouts of racism and insensitivity that have been seen in the live feeds from numerous houseguests competing in Season 15. Regardless, the splash that contestant’s comments on the live feed have made, coupled by the news that several contestants have lost their real world jobs due to the ugly words they have put out into the universe, all helped CBS to win the night in the ratings on Sunday.

Last night’s episode of Big Brother pulled a 2.1 rating and 6.3 million total viewers. That may not seem like a ton of viewers, but that's still doing pretty well for summer TV, with TV Line noting that the series rose two tenths of a point from week to week. Along with Big Brother, CBS aired a repeat of Under the Dome, which still managed to nab a .9 rating and 4.1 million total viewers. Both airings helped CBS to win the night.

While viewers couldn’t have wholly expected that CBS would air any of the horrifying remarks several members of the cast have made this season, the live feed controversy has kept Big Brother in the news, thanks to Aaryn and GinaMarie both losing their jobs due to making inappropriate and hateful comments. An additional contestant, Spencer, also got into trouble with his company for calling another contestant “Kermit the fag.” Since some of the footage actually came from earlier in the season, it was actually pretty surprising that CBS opted to take viewers back in time and air the dirty laundry last night. With the ratings up, this theory obviously worked, however.

Big Brother racism

There wasn’t much else going on over at network television last night. ABC also had new programming, but Celebrity Wife Swap faltered in the ratings, pulling in only 2.9 million total viewers and a dismal .9 rating. The network’s other big program last night, Whodunnit? brought in 3 million total viewers and a 1.0 rating, which wasn't good enough to beat CBS. Additionally, the network aired a previous episode of Castle last night.

While Fox had cartoon reruns last night, NBC had a mixed bag of new and old programming. Probably the saddest story of the night was NBC’s airing of Crossing Lines. The network’s summertime, overseas procedural dropped a whopping 22% in total viewership last night. It likely didn’t help the show’s case that it was paired up with a rerun of America’s Got Talent on Sunday night, although AGT still managed to do 4.1 million total viewers.

For a basic procedural, I actually like the globetrotting nature of Crossing Lines, as well as the many European perspectives on the show. Maybe once Big Brother stops being so inflammatory, people will give this one a shot. I’m not holding my breath, though.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.