Big Brother, the British reality TV show which turned Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty into a internationally recognised face has been scrapped, with reports suggesting that the racism row involving Jade Goody and Shetty proved the death knell for the programme.
Channel 4 decided to pull the plug on the show after it managed an average of just two million viewers in it's tenth year, which is a massive drop from the 10 million who tuned in during the 'Celebrity' edition starring Shetty two years ago, reported Daily Mail.
An announcement that the programme, which first aired in 2000, will be axed after next year is reportedly due from Channel 4 as early as this Friday.
Big Brother made stars of former contestants, including Shetty who went on to be granted a meeting with the Queen, but in more recent years former contestants quickly faded from public view and the programme became mired in controversy. It has never fully recovered from the fiasco of the 'Celebrity Big Brother' race row over the treatment of the Indian actress who was taunted as 'Shilpa Poppadom' by fellow house mates Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd.
The broadcaster was forced to air a humiliating apology after the show sparked 55,000 complaints and derailed Gordon Brown's visit to India, said the newspaper.
"The reality is people are bored with it. Even the vibe among staff is that if you like Big Brother you're not cool. If the people commissioning the show don't think it's cool, what hope is there?" said a source in the channel.
The show has struggled to win over the 'Facebook generation' with the source adding, "The truth is nobody's talking about Big Brother any more."
Image: Shilpa Shetty is shown on a screen during a screening of Celebrity Big Brother at the Elstree Studios on the outskirts of London in 2007. (Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Reuters)