"Big Brother" participant gives birth on TV

The cameras were whirring when Tanja gave birth Tuesday to a healthy daughter in footage that the new mother hopes will boost her chances to win the US$477,480 prize on the Dutch reality program "Big Brother." The birth of Joscelyn Savanna will be shown on Tuesday's episode according to ground rules set in talks between the producers and the Social Affairs Ministry for the baby's participation in the program.

"It will not show any explicit scenes," said Stephanie Dekker, spokeswoman of the Talpa network, noting that medical and educational TV programs have shown more graphic footage of births. "It will mostly show what Tanja says during the birth."

Still, the live birth on entertainment TV is the latest event to stretch the limits for prime-time Dutch viewers. On Monday, another network showed footage of their reporter snorting cocaine and then being interviewed about the experience in a talk-show format.

The experimental television drew complaints Tuesday from the conservative Dutch government. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner called the televised taking of drugs "undesirable," though there was no indication any action would be taken.

Authorities have told the "Big Brother" producers that Joscelyn may be on air for no more than eight hours for the duration of the show, which runs daily and ends Dec. 22. She must stay in a room where cameras are not allowed, and where her mother and grandparents can visit in private.

Nurses working under the government health scheme would make routine visits to check the newborn and her mother, also off-camera, Dekker said.

"Big Brother," was created in the Netherlands in 1999 and then marketed in dozens of countries, features a group of contestants confined in a house for 100 days under constant camera surveillance.

In it's early days, Big Brother attracted millions of viewers who could vote to allow participants to stay or be ejected. Now viewable 24-hours a day on the Internet, it has been copied around the world in countless formats, the AP says.

Tanja, has been sequestered at "Big Brother House" since the show began Aug. 28. She is one of nine people remaining after viewers voted three off the program.

Last names are not used on the program, and viewers are told only that Tanja is 27, lives in the northern town of Groningen, aspires to study law and became pregnant by accident.

The Talpa network's Web site says she is tied for second in popularity, but lags well behind Joost, a 21-year-old bank employee.

Talpa is the latest creation of media tycoon John de Mol, the architect of the original "Big Brother," which ushered in the age of reality television shows.


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