TV3 acquires Irish TV rights to ‘Big Brother’ until 2018

Three-year-deal secures reality series and its celebrity version

‘Big Brother’ presenter Emma Willis and ‘Big Brother’s Bit On The Side’ host  Rylan Clark-Neal

‘Big Brother’ presenter Emma Willis and ‘Big Brother’s Bit On The Side’ host Rylan Clark-Neal

TV3 has won the Irish broadcast rights to Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother in a three-year exclusive agreement with Endemol Shine Group. The deal will see the reality series and its celebrity version run on TV3 and 3e until 2018.

Since 2011, the series has been produced in the UK for Viacom-owned Channel 5, to which most Irish homes do not have access.

TV3 Group managing director Pat Kiely said the Big Brother franchise showed no signs of slowing down. “Its unpredictable nature makes for compulsive viewing and must-watch telly,” he said.

Now owned by Virgin Media, which is in turn part of John Malone’s Liberty Global cable group, TV3 is flexing its muscles as it aims to become a more serious challenger to RTÉ from the autumn.


Before that, it will show 22 matches in the Uefa Euro 2016 football tournament, including England’s opening game against Russia, after RTÉ was forced to sub-license some of its rights in order to balance its books.

This summer’s Big Brother, which launches on June 7th, will overlap with the tournament and is likely to be scheduled across both TV3 and its sister channel 3e.

Entertainment formats

TV3 first brought the reality series back to Irish television screens in 2015, when it was in the market for entertainment formats that would help it fend off competition from new rival UTV Ireland.

The show was a hit among younger viewers on successive nights during the traditionally quiet summer period for television ratings. The 2015 final brought in an average of 225,000 viewers over the course of the episode and reached more than twice that number, while Celebrity Big Brother proved a draw in both autumn 2015 and January of this year.

Big Brother is presented by Emma Willis, while its spin-off show Big Brother’s Bit On The Side is fronted by Rylan Clark-Neal, a former contestant on The X Factor. It is produced by Initial, part of the Endemol Shine Group.

Endemol Shine is the global production and distribution house behind the Masterchef “superbrand” format, among others, while it also acts as the international distributor for television dramas such as Broadchurch and Humans.

Reality franchise

The Big Brother reality franchise originates in the Netherlands, where it was created by the producer John de Mol in the late 1990s. It previously ran on Channel 4 from 2000 to 2010, before switching to Channel 5. In 2015 alone, some 31 separate series of Big Brother aired in more than 20 countries.

Channel 5 has teased that in this year’s series “the housemates are not alone and they should be prepared for paranoia and suspicion”.