Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Channel 4's "Big Brother" Misleads Viewers, Says British Agency

A British regulatory agency has ruled that two phone companies must pay the costs of its lengthy investigation into the circumstances surrounding the voting off and subsequent bringing-back of contestants on Channel 4's "Big Brother" program. Viewers who watched the program thought that they had voted some contestants off permanently, using premium rate "call in" or interactive TV remote numbers. The agency, the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (ICSTIS), found that Channel 4 had breached the agency's Code of Practice and misled viewers, even though the show advertised that "twists and turns" were part of the show. ICSTIS received more than 2500 complaints about the show. While the agency ruled that the return of these particular contestants did not "materially change...the outcome of the programme", it did levy administrative charges of nearly fifty thousand pounds against the telephone companies to cover the costs of the investigation. Channel 4 says it will pick up the tab. Read more here. Read ICSTIS' press release here.

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