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Saturday, 23 December, 2000, 23:45 GMT
Big Brother's little cousins
Ten million people watched the end of Channel 4's Big Brother, leaving its rivals green with envy.
ITV's director of programmes David Liddiment was one of the show's fans, but turned the series down for his network because he feared it would be boring.
"Everyone has their turning down the Beatles story," he joked.
But now the gloves are off as ITV is lining up two new projects - Public Property and Survivor - to take the shine off Big Brother's second series in the new year.
The BBC is weighing in with a second series of Castaway - while Channel 5 has The Mole to entice viewers.
Public Property follows the lives of six contestants who hand over control of their lives to viewers for three months.
Viewers will for decide for them what to do with their lives - to whether they should go on a date or what clothes to wear.
The winner is the one who is judged to have made the most of the options they have been given.
They will be awarded a "freedom prize", which is aimed to help them improve their life. Prizes could range from money to help them return to college, to a chance to work abroad.
The show will be hosted by Kaye Adams, best known for presenting ITV's daytime chat show Live Talk.
Corporate trainer Richard Hatch won $1m for coming out on top of 16 people marooned by CBS on a remote island in the South Pacific.
They had to catch their own food, build their own shelter and create order in their own society - voting one of their number off the island every three days.
Although viewers did not vote themselves for winners or losers - the programme had been pre-recorded some months earlier - Survivor smashed the US version of Big Brother in the ratings.
ITV actually had the idea first - it came out of a slot on its now-defunct breakfast station TV-am in 1988.
TV mogul Charlie Parsons, who was working at the company at the time, developed the concept and sold it around the world.
Now the company he founded, Planet 24, is bringing Survivor to the UK - and the company is looking for contestants who are in "excellent mental and physical health" for a chance of winning the £1m jackpot.
"Fit and healthy" volunteers are wanted for the latest experiment - which will be just six to eight weeks long and in a secret location.
Castaway has drawn up to eight million viewers during 2000 who have tuned in to watch the current crop of volunteers battle with the elements on the Scottish island of Taransay.
A BBC spokeswoman said the new series would be "very different in its look and feel".
"We're looking for eight people; three men and three women, and maybe a couple. They will need to be over 18, fit and healthy, because it will probably be an extreme adventure this time."
Channel 5 was quick to join the reality fray in 2000 with Jailbreak, set in a Hertfordshire prison.
Based on a Belgian format, the original programme won the Golden Rose of Montreux earlier this year.
The group are set a variety of challenges, both physical and psychological, which can help the group win up to £200,000.
But there is a catch - one of the ten is The Mole, specially selected to disrupt the group's endeavours.
One contestant is eliminated each week, and at the end of the series, only three remain - a winner, a loser, and The Mole. The winner, who comes closest to choosing The Mole, wins all of the prize money, while the loser takes nothing.
Channel 4 isn't resting on its laurels. Its new digital service, E4, will show Chained from March.
Like Big Brother, Chained is a Dutch idea developed by production outfit Endemol.
If one group is led by a woman, she will pick five men she finds attractive from a group of hopefuls.
They will then be chained together for five days and cameras will follow them as they perform everyday activities chained together.
One man will be set free each day, and on the fifth day producers hope romantic sparks will fly between the female "commander" and the final man.
One group will feature one woman and five men, another will have one man and five women, a third will feature gay contestants and the final group will be made up of bisexuals.
The prize will be cash, which will go to the "commander" who will be free to give away as much or as little as they want to their chosen suitor.
Chained will also provide a TV presenting role for one Big Brother presenter - Melanie Hill, who herself was filmed in passionate moments with male contestants in the show's household.
An E4 spokeswoman said there was "always the chance" it could also be shown on the main Channel 4 if it proved a hit.
Channel 4 has commissioned a second series of Big Brother - although details about the new series are still sketchy.
Rumours abound about plans for nominations to be carried out face-to-face rather than in secret, or for extra inducements to ensure the housemates do more than kiss or massage each other.
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