Big Brother plans TV birth in Netherlands

The latest version of the game show "Big Brother" launched Sunday in the Netherlands features a woman who is seven months pregnant, raising the possibility she will give birth live on television.

The Dutch Social Affairs Ministry will decide later this week whether to grant a work permit allowing the baby essentially a child actor to make an appearance on the show.

Ministry spokeswoman Bea Versteeg said as long as no laws were broken the ministry had no objection in principle to having babies on TV. But the amount of time the infant can appear on camera will be limited due to child labor laws, she said.

A spokeswoman for Endemol, the creator of the "Big Brother" series, said "we really don't know yet what we'll do" when the pregnant woman, identified only by her first name 'Tanja,' goes into labor.

"She may be voted off the program first," Endemol spokeswoman Cathelijne Nijssen said.

Nijssen said that in any case, the show would not take medical risks with the baby and a birth would be presented in "a tasteful manner."

"We've spoken to gynecologists, psychologists, they all think it could be better, warmer to have a baby in the Big Brother house than in a hospital," she said, reports the AP.

According to Reuters, the Netherlands has strict rules governing young children acting on television, in films or on the stage.

The ruling Christian Democrats have condemned the idea of a birth on the live show, but the 27-year-old pregnant contestant identified only as Tanja defended the idea.

"I think that my child will be proud of it later," she told De Telegraaf.

The show's director Hummie van der Tonnekreek said Tanja would be well looked after in the Big Brother house, where a group of 12 strangers are locked in together and gradually voted out by the audience.

"She will get the maximum attention and care," Van der Tonnekreek said.

Versions of the show first aired in the Netherlands in 1999 have since been produced in dozens of countries worldwide.

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