He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.

Thank goodness for stupid people

There's no ignoring it, Big Brother has been just about everywhere in the media, to the point where people that don't own TV's (like myself) can't ignore it - it's even on the BBC news and has caused international controversy. The antics of Jade Goody (amongst others) have shown what happens when you let stupid people loose on the phenomenon called reality television. The uncomfortable truth is that people aren't actually that nice - and there's little you can to cover it up. It may be frowned upon, but it doesn't stop people being racist. It's just under normal circumstances they're not encouraged by what they see on TV any more. We left most of that behind in the 1970s with the likes of Love Thy Neighbour. Well, for a while anyway.

Big Brother has attracted widespread criticism in recent weeks for condoning racist behaviour - the complaint-ometer is currently at 36,000 and rising. Sponsors of the program are starting to get cold feet. It's even attracted the criticism of government, causing embarrassment internationally. Admittedly it's a pretty extreme measure to take, but this could be the beginning of the end for Big Brother. I live in hope.

When the program was launched several years back, it was sold to us as a social experiment, allowing us to watch the interaction between the house-mates, their actions being explained by a psychologist who would rationalise the complexities of human interaction. Most people remember the "Nasty Nick" phenomenon back in the day when this was pioneering television. That didn't last long. In order to attract more ratings and keep interest up, the stakes had to increased correspondingly by the program makers - segregation, sex, mind games and depravation were but a few tactics, not to mention the choice of house-mates, which changed from being a representative cross-section of the British population into something that definitely wasn't.

What you notice, however, is that the amount of complaints with each series has gradually risen. Let's be honest, even by Channel 4's standards 36,000 is quite a few. Upon current ratings, that's got to be getting close to 1% of the audience they've pissed off. It's probably a new record. That 1% is the percentage of people who did complain. Many will just switch off/over. Most of the increased ratings at the moment are no doubt people who weren't watching before, wondering what all the fuss is about. The ratings will go down again when their curiosity is satisfied.

When the series finishes, there will probably be another Big Brother over the summer - but will sponsors be in such a rush with their money then? Where will the producers take the program? Will they have to tread carefully? After breaking many taboos and introducing racism (accidentally or otherwise) into the mix, one of the only remaining options is to introduce a few of the final no-go areas. Want a bit of violence perhaps? What about some religious extremism? It's just not possible to keep promising more than before - it has to end somewhere. Things will reach an inevitable conclusion as Channel 4/Endemol will have nowhere to go with it - and it will disappear from our screens. Ironically, we'll have voted it off.

Of course, that doesn't mean that there won't be any more reality TV. After all, ITV seems to have it every week as the cornerstone of their weekly schedule. If the program title doesn't have the word "celebrity" in there somewhere, they probably won't air it. They haven't twigged yet as to why their programs are crap and ratings are falling, but they will. Eventually.

In the meantime, maybe we should just thank Jade for accelerating the decline of the genre. Maybe she's not as stupid as she looks.
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