- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Exploiting racial, ethnic slurs for ratings? CBS’ ‘Big Brother’ spikes in Nielsens
Question of the Day
NEW YORK - Racially insensitive language hurt some cast members’ reputations in the CBS game “Big Brother,” but it may not have been bad for television ratings.
Contestants on this season’s “Big Brother” have been caught on the game’s 24-hour-a-day Internet feed making boorish remarks, and some were seen Sunday on one of the show’s television broadcasts.
Contestant GinaMarie Zimmerman, 32, of Staten Island, N.Y., referred to welfare as “N-word insurance.” While this was seen on the feed made available through CBS’ website, it was not shown on television.
However, an exchange with fellow contestant Aaryn Gries of San Angelo, Texas, was shown on CBS. During the conversation, Ms. Zimmerman said that a house member who is black is “on the dark side, but she’s already dark.” Ms. Gries responded: “Be careful what you say in the dark because you might not be able to see the bitch.”
Ms. Zimmerman was subsequently fired from her job as a beauty pageant coordinator, according to published reports. Pageant officials did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Ms. Gries, a student who does work for a modeling agency, was reportedly dropped by her agency.
Ms. Gries also referred to another contestant as a “queer.” In another conversation, Ms. Gries was referring to an Asian-American housemate when she said: “Shut up, go make some rice.” She also spoke in an exaggerated Asian accent.
At another point, Ms. Gries said, “I look, probably, like a squinty Asian right now.”
The racial remarks clearly disturbed other contestants on the show. Howard Overby, a youth counselor who is black, said he resisted expressing anger for fear it could hurt his chances in the game.
An estimated 6.25 million people watched “Big Brother” on Sunday, a 6 percent increase over the average of 5.9 million viewers for the first three episodes of the summertime series, the Nielsen company said. While viewership was down compared to last year for the first three episodes, the audience was roughly the same each year for the fourth episode, Nielsen said.
So did some well-publicized controversy boost the ratings for the long-running reality series that tests the abilities of people to live on camera in a house full of strangers?
Perhaps. But it’s worth noting that there are more people in general watching TV on Sundays than other nights. And the week of July Fourth, when earlier “Big Brother” episodes were shown, is typically the least-watched TV week of the year. The true test for “Big Brother” is whether the show can sustain any interest in the characters.
CBS said in a statement that it did not condone what its characters said and the remarks don’t represent the views of the network or show producers. CBS said it was “weighing carefully issues of broadcast standards, an obligation to inform the audience of important elements that influence the competition, and sensitivity to how any inappropriate comments are presented.”
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- Tom Petty: 'No one's got Christ more wrong than the Christians'
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- Eugenie Bouchard pulls out of D.C.'s Citi Open
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq