Big Brother is a reality television show in which a group of people live together in a large house, isolated from the outside world but continuously watched by television cameras. Each series lasts for around three months, and there are 10-17 participants. The housemates try to win a cash prize by avoiding periodic evictions from the house.
The idea for the show is said to come during a brainstorm session at the production house of John de Mol Produkties (an independent part of Endemol) on 4 September 1997. The first Big Brother broadcast was in the Netherlands in 1999 on the Veronica TV channel. It was picked up by Germany, Portugal, USA, UK, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy the following year and became a world-wide sensation. Since then it has been a prime-time hit in almost 70 countries. The show's name comes from George Orwell's 1948 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.