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Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Watchdog bites French Big Brother
Loft Story's female contestants
Show must not undermine "respect of human dignity"
TV authorities in Paris have told makers of Loft Story, the French version of reality TV show Big Brother, to make changes to the way it is broadcast.

The show, which was launched at the end of April, documents the existence of 11 contestants' lives on free-to-air TV channel M6.

But it saves the highlights for its website and satellite channel - both of which viewers must pay for.

The country's television watchdog, the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) has stopped the free show from promoting the paid-for services.

The free-to-air show only gives views from two of the 26 cameras, in the main living areas, and any more exciting or intimate moments are saved for the internet or the satellite versions.

British Big Brother
Big Brother: Format has been used in 27 countries
The CSA also told M6 that it must not show anything which "could undermine the respect of human dignity" or goes against laws prohibiting excessive consumption of cigarettes or alcohol on air.

The contestants, who are filmed by cameras 24 hours a day, must stay in their loft apartment home until they are voted out by a combination of games, such as karaoke, and a viewers' poll.

Only two people - a couple - will remain, because Loft Story, unlike some of its forerunners, is a love story.

Criticism

The toilets are the only area into which viewers are not allowed to pry.

The show has attracted criticism from academics and media since its launch at the end of April.

One leading TV presenter has called it "lowest common denominator television", while a group called Smile You're On TV has told viewers to place rubbish bins outside M6 offices.

But it has been a hit with viewers. About 30% of the available audience tuned in to watch the first show, and the website is getting more than one million hits per day.

Loft Story is the French version of the popular Big Brother shows, which began in Holland and have been made in 27 countries.

The format spawned a number of reality TV copycat shows including Survivor and Temptation Island.

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See also:

30 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
French Big Brother faces censors
24 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Big Brother contestants muzzled
17 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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