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Countdown begins as Big Brother Naija returns amid COVID-19

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Big Brother Naija host Ebuka Obi-Uchendu

Show To Follow NCDC Guidelines, Housemates Already In Quarantine
If you are among reality show fans nursing fears over possible cancelation of this year’s Big Brother Naija due to COVID-19, fear not. Like they say in theatre parlance, pandemic or no pandemic, the show must go on!

On Thursday, MultiChoice Nigeria with this season’s headline sponsor, Betway and Gold sponsor, Guinness, organised a virtual press briefing for media partners that had the Chief Customer Officer of MultiChoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho, Executive Head of Content MultiChoice Nigeria, Busola Tejumola, Channel Director, Africa Magic, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, Media Personality and show host Ebuka Obi-Uchendu in attendance.

According to the organisers, Season five of the favourite reality show will be going live on Sunday, July 19, 2020. An audience favourite, the show is loved and avidly followed by viewers across Africa as it showcases urban Nigerian culture.

However, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, MultiChoice Nigeria, organiser of the show, has taken some necessary precautions in line with the guidelines set by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for the fifth season of the show. Besides ensuring the production crew works in (socially distanced) shifts, the organisation is putting the potential housemates through a rigorous health screening process. These potential housemates will, in addition to other medical tests, undergo a COVID-19 test before entering Biggie’s house.

To further ensure the safety of BBNaija participants, these potential housemates are currently in quarantine ahead of the show’s premiere on Sunday, July 19. Anyone that shows signs of ill health, will as expected not be a part of the show.

In a media briefing ahead of the show, Ebuka also shared his experience from when he auditioned for the Big Brother Nigeria show in 2006. According to him, he was 23 years old, and it was the most comprehensive health test he had ever done.

MultiChoice Nigeria said they are committed to keeping all BBNaija season five participants safe and healthy, which is why there will be no live audience at the Sunday Night Eviction Shows. There will also be no unexpected celebrity visits to the House.

Channel Director, Africa Magic, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu reassured the press that the organisers are working in tandem with the NCDC and following strictly the guidelines laid down to ensure the highest level of safety.

“The Big Brother show lends itself to a certain level of quarantine, seamlessly integrating into the COVID-19 guidelines.”

The Big Brother House, according to the organisers, has also been disinfected and won’t be accessible to anyone till July 19, when the housemates make their way into the house heralding the start of the show.

While a lot of precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of housemates and crew ahead of the show, the excitement and entertainment of the show will not be dampened.

The Big Brother franchise first aired in Nigeria in 2006, as Big Brother Nigeria, with a $100,000 cash prize, which Katung Aduwak won. After being off air for 10 years, the show returned as Big Brother Naija, in January 2017, and that kickstarted the monumental status the show now holds.

Millions of audiences across Nigeria now expectantly look forward to new seasons of the thrilling Big Brother Naija show. Past winners of the show include Katung Aduwak (2006), Michael Efe Ejeba (2017), Miracle Igbokwe (2018) and Mercy Eke (2019).

With the success of the last season of the show, BBNaija Pepper Dem in 2019, expectations were high for what to expect in 2020. The Pepper Dem housemates brought the most drama, tension, love triangles, and excitement to our TV screens.

When the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early March 2020, with the attendant lockdown and social distancing effects, many wondered if BBNaija would grace their TV screens this year.


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