Ch. 4 renews 'Big Brother' slate


AMSTERDAM -- Dutch entertainment giant Endemol announced Friday that the U.K's Channel 4 has renewed "Big Brother" for another three years, extending the format rights to 2010. The new agreement includes spinoff programs "Celebrity Big Brother," "Big Brother's Little Brother," "Big Brother's Big Mouth" and E4 streaming.

Since its 1999 launch in the Netherlands, "Big Brother" has become a groundbreaking worldwide hit.

In the U.K., the show first aired on Channel 4 in July 2000, with the seventh season of attracting an average audience of 4.7 million viewers, up on the previous series that delivered an average 4.5 million. The U.K. version of "Big Brother" is from Brighter Pictures Production, a unit of Endemol U.K. In 2006, versions "Big Brother" were seen in some 20 countries.