Did some viewers not have the stomach for Sunday’s edition of CBS‘ racially charged reality series Big Brother? It’s unclear if the ratings slid on the Sunday edition, which aired one day after a six-woman jury pronounced George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, triggering protests nationwide. Early, timeslot ratings from Nielsen paint a very unclear picture; CBS’s primetime was delayed for about 20 minutes owing to the John Deere Classic Final Round overrun and initial BB numbers are muddied by about 10 minutes of The Good Wife. The ratings mess will have to be sorted out later.
CBS, for the first time, had added a disclaimer to its reality series broadcast, but a CBS rep says that decision was made days before the Zimmerman verdict.
“Big Brother is a reality show about a group of people who have no privacy 24/7. At times, the Houseguests may reveal prejudices and other beliefs that CBS does not condone,” CBS said in a printed on-screen message seen by viewers before Sunday’s episode began. “Views or opinions expressed by a Houseguest are those of the individuals speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS. Viewer discretion is advised.” It reportedly marked the first time the long-running reality series had ever run such a disclaimer on-screen.
Sunday’s episode of the series — in which badly-behaved people seek their 15 minutes of fame by shacking up in a made-for –TV house tricked out with cameras and audio to catch every incendiary moment — once again featured competitors Aaryn Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman lashing out at African-American housemate Candice Stewart. When Aaryn tossed over Candice’s bed mattress, Aaryn responded, “Whatcha gon’ do, girl?” GinaMarie later asked Candice, “When is the black gonna come out?” Aaryn later explained to Candice her comments are jokes; Candice said during her “diary room” session she wasn’t buying Aaryn’s “apology.” On the bright side, Aaryn and GinaMarie have already been fired from their jobs outside the Big Brother house, because of the comments they’ve made on the inside.