by pat howard

THE WHIP | ‘Big Brother’ spinoff, ‘Grey’s’ casting, teen drama at The N

In Big Brother, Big Brother: After Dark, CBS, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Grey's Anatomy, Showtime on June 11, 2007 at 8:57 pm

Big news today for fans of the CBS love-it-or-hate-it reality marathon Big Brother. The eighth season of the reality hit kicks off July 5, with Julie “The Chenbot” Chen at the helm. Later that night, a live spinoff series, Big Brother: After Dark, debuts on ShoToo, the second of Showtime’s many networks. The show is a nightly live feed from the Big Brother house broadcasting between midnight and 3 a.m. Eastern. At the house in LA, it will actually be 9 p.m. when the nightly broadcast begins. Variety reports that “profanity and nudity will be allowed, but the feed will be interrupted if houseguests say anything slanderous or that violates music copyrights.”  Follow the link to see all the ways in which CBS is exploiting the Big Brother brand among digital properties and other outlets. Given the guerilla synergy mentality behind the promotion of this show, it’s no wonder it’s remained in favor with fans as well as CBS execs. Of course, the fact that the aforementioned Chenbot is married to CBS chief Les Moonves probably doesn’t hurt either. …

With two major players leaving the series, Grey’s Anatomy is looking to freshen up its cast for season four. Kate Walsh (Addison) and Isaish Washington (Burke; see yesterday’s “Inside the Box”) will not be in the mix at Seattle Grace next year, but Meredith’s half-sister Lexi (Chyler Leigh), whom we met in the final episodes of season three, will be a new intern among the familiar faces. USA Today reports that producers are also “seeking a new recurring male character to compete with” McDreamy. … Meanwhile, Deadline Hollywood Daily reports on the hypocrisy of the Isaiah Washington scandal. …

Later this month, The N, the U.S. home for the popular Canadian teen series Degrassi: The Next Generation, will unveil a new companion series set in college. Called The Best Years, it’s from Aaron Martin, who wrote for and ran Degrassi: TNG during its first four drama-filled seasons. Will Martin find success again? The Best Years debuts June 29 at 8:30 p.m., following a new (in the U.S., anyway) Degrassi at 8 p.m. …

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