Another 'Brother' set for summer

By James Hibberd
March 17, 2008

"Big Brother" is going back-to-back.

CBS is gearing up for a summer edition of its competition reality series to follow the winter run that's still on the air.

The network typically airs "Brother" in the summer. Once the WGA strike kicked in, CBS opted for the show's first in-season edition, which premiered in February.

Although a summer season of "Brother" always has been likely, the prospect of the series' first back-to-back run has been tempered by the current edition's modest ratings.

For summer 2005, "Brother" averaged a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49, while 2006 and 2007 held a steady 2.8. Season-to-date, the winter run has averaged a less impressive 2.1 despite some video outtakes of lurid bedroom (and bathroom) coupling that have made entertainment blog headlines.

Given the numbers, it was unclear whether CBS might opt to give the show a breather before bringing it back. But some "Brother" episodes have gone up against Fox's "American Idol," which offsets the larger audience benefits of airing in-season. And fans contend that the sun-drenched summer atmosphere is ideal for the show.

CBS has not announced a premiere date for the summer edition.

Reality fans also could face another unprecedented back-to-back series run because of the strike: With Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" to premiere in-season for the first time next month, the show also might have its regular summer version. The network has a second run on tap, having ordered two editions shot during the show's recent production cycle.