Saying bad things can be good business, “Big Brother” is learning.
After a week of controversy, the Sunday episode of CBS’ long-running reality series aired homophobic and racist remarks from two contestants, Aaryn Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman. As a result, ratings zoomed 11% in the key adults ages 18 to 49 demographic, compared with the season premiere a week earlier, according to Nielsen.
A total of 6.2 million viewers tuned in, enabling CBS to walk away with the 8 p.m. hour, early numbers showed.
The comments from Gries and Zimmerman had aired on the show’s online live stream, but it had been unclear whether CBS would actually air the material on broadcast. Last week, the network issued a statement distancing itself from their remarks; the pair also lost their regular jobs back home as a result.
Gries told an Asian American contestant to “go make some rice.” Zimmerman, who had worked as a beauty-pageant coordinator, used the N-word in criticizing welfare.
Despite the controversy, though, “Big Brother” isn’t off to a great start. Ratings for the first four episodes represent the show’s worst opening average since 2008.
What do you think of the controversy?