Germany’s version of Big Brother has now told its housemates of the coronavirus pandemic in a live to air show.
The current season began on Feb. 10, when most cases were still in China.
Speaking from behind a glass wall, host Jochen Schropp and a doctor explained that “a disease called Covid-19 had spread across the world” and “reached Europe.” Contestants were then shown news clips of recent events, including footage of deserted streets in Italy and Germany.
Most of the contestants watched in shocked silence. Several erupted into sobs.
Wiping away tears, one contestant, identified as Michelle, 26, explained that because she works as a geriatric nurse, she was particularly worried about her patients. Another, who works as a bartender, expressed concern about what the virus might mean for the country’s economy.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 8,009 cases have been reported in Germany, a majority in North Rhine-Westphalia, the region where Big Brother is filmed.
The show had also reversed its position in not telling housemates of the pandemic. Producers Endemol Shine had instructed all productions to tell casts, with Australian housemates -currently in lockdown in Manly- told earlier this week.
In 2001, the US version of the program informed its cast members about the September 11 attacks. One of the contestants, Monica Bailey, had a cousin who died during the attack.
But one edition of the series in 2001 stupidly showed a distressed housemate the World Trade Center attacks during an eviction show. The footage never made it to air.
German contestants now have access to a psychologist to help them cope and were shown video messages from their loved ones, all of whom urged the housemates not to leave the show.
The partner of one contestant, Pat, urged him to stay in the house. It was, he added, “the best quarantine that exists.”
Source: NY Times