Youku Tudou, Endemol Partner on Chinese Version of 'Big Brother'

Julie Chen is hosting the U.S. version of the reality hit show on CBS

The first-ever Chinese version of the global reality hit will launch in early 2015

Endemol and Chinese online video giant Youku Tudou said Tuesday that they will collaborate on the first-ever Chinese version of global reality hit Big Brother.

The new series will be a collaboration between Youku Tudou and Endemol China. "Both parties will contribute their strengths to the co-operation, including Youku's strong digital platforms, its advertising and interactive capabilities, and Endemol its production expertise and international distribution network," the partners said.

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Launching in early 2015, Big Brother China will run for 10 weeks, with production expected to begin soon.

Said Endemol's CEO of Asian Operations Arjen van Mierlo: "We're thrilled to announce this landmark deal with Youku Tudou Inc., bringing a format that has changed the face of television to China for the first time. In a market that annually generates hundreds of billions of video views, partnering with the number one digital video platform will allow us to bring Big Brother to a young audience and deliver the most immersive, interactive and unique experience to fans across the nation."

Victor Koo, chairman and CEO of Youku Tudou, said: "We are delighted to be joining forces with Endemol to finally bring this groundbreaking format to China. Fifteen years after its launch, Big Brother continues to be a worldwide hit that engages passionate young fans across multiple platforms. Youku Tudou has been advancing its multi-screen media and entertainment ecosystem to provide its users with higher quality original content. By partnering with Endemol, Youku Tudou can build on its achievements with this great fit into our business model."

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Youku Tudou says it currently has more than 500,000,000 active users, reaching more than 200 billion views a year.

Endemol's hits in China include five seasons of celebrity talent format Your Face Sounds Familiar for Hunan TV and The Brain for Jiangsu, which is now in production for season two. Overall, 25 seasons of Big Brother will have aired in more than 70 countries in 2014, according to Endemol.

Twitter: @georgszalai