'Big Brother' Earns 2-Season Renewal; 'Zoo' Also Returning to CBS

Decisions on summer scripted series 'BrainDead' and 'American Gothic' are still to be determined.
CBS (2)
James Wolk on 'Zoo'; 'Big Brother's' Julie Chen

CBS is solidifying its summer.

The network used its time Wednesday in front of reporters at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour to announce that it has handed out a two-season renewal for summer staple Big Brother as well as pick up scripted drama Zoo for a third season. Decisions on fellow summer scripted series BrainDead and American Gothic have not yet been determined.

Zoo, based on the best-seller by author and executive producer James Patterson, is a global thriller about a wave of violent animal attacks against humans. The series is produced in-house by CBS Television Studios and stars James Wolk.

While not an out-of-the-box ratings hit, the series has averaged 4 million viewers and a 1.1 among adults under 50, with both metrics growing about 35 percent and 53 percent, respectively, with three days of delayed viewing.

The series is the longest-running original summer scripted drama on the network that originally made waves a few years ago by rolling out pricey scripted dramas in the typically low-rated summer. Key to those deals was securing SVOD windows on Netflix and Amazon, which Zoo has with the former. Amazon has BrainDead, produced by The Good Wife's Robert and Michelle King, while American Gothic did not have a streaming deal to help offset its costs. (None of CBS' summer dramas have been out-of-the-gate hits the way Under the Dome originally opened, which helped to pave the way for expensive scripted fare in the summer on the network.)

For its part, Big Brother's two-season renewal is no surprise given the reality competition series' continued ratings success in its 18th season across the three nights a week that the show airs. CBS gave the stalwart a similar two-season pickup back in September 2014.

Wednesday's renewal will take Big Brother into its landmark 20th season on the air. Seasons 19 and 20 will air in summer 2017 and 2018, respectively. Season 19 of Big Brother is not to be confused with the new digital edition of the series, which will premiere on CBS All Access in the fall. It's unclear how the new digital edition, which will also be hosted by Julie Chen, will differentiate itself from the original series.

The new digital edition will be CBS All Access’ first original series as it prepares to launch Bryan Fuller's Star Trek: Discovery and the Good Wife spinoff headlined by Christine Baranski in 2017.

Big Brother is produced by Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan for Fly on the Wall Entertainment, in association with Endemol Shine North America.

Big Brother is one of several long-running competition series on CBS' unscripted slate, joining Survivor and The Amazing Race, both which continue to air two cycles per TV season. This fall will see the network delve into true crime with the docuseries The Case of JonBenet Ramsey, centered on the unsolved 1996 murder case. CBS also has docuseries Undercover Boss.

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