The German Cast of “Big Brother” Will Find Out About Coronavirus on Live TV

The cast members are among the last people on earth to know about the pandemic

Big Brother Germany
Big Brother Germany

If you’re at all familiar with the general concept of Big Brother, you know the deal: contestants are cut off from all contact with the outside world — no phones, no internet, no TV — while taping the show. Because of that rule, the 14 cast members of the show’s German version are currently among the last people on earth to be blissfully unaware of coronavirus. But as the Hollywood Reporter points out, that won’t last for long.

Contestants on season 13 of the German show have been filming since Feb. 10 in a house in Cologne, and they currently have no idea that a pandemic has forced public life in their country to shut down. But Sat.1, the network that airs the show, has decided it will inform them of the virus in a special live episode that will air at 7 p.m. local time Tuesday (March 17).

The cast will reportedly be able to ask questions and receive video messages from their relatives. The show has faced criticism for keeping contestants in the dark about the virus thus far and for continuing production with many people in close quarters despite public health officials’ insistence that people practice social distancing.

“The health and wellbeing of Big Brother Housemates is our priority,” the show’s producers said in a statement. “All current productions were informed last week that the usual format rules regarding outside news do not apply in this instance, and it was requested that they inform their respective housemates of the evolving situation regarding COVID-19. The majority of Housemates have already been briefed and this process will be complete today [March 17].”

It won’t be the first time that the series has broken its no-contact-with-the-outside-world rule: in 2001, the American version interrupted its second season to inform the cast about 9/11.

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