Celebrity Big Brother returns with 3.4 million viewers

'Celebrity Big Brother' returned to Channel 5 last night with an average audience of 3.42 million viewers, significantly below the 5.08 million who tuned in to watch the launch of last year's show.

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The peak audience during the show was 4.24 million viewers at 10pm, an impressive audience for the channel. When the contribution of Channel 5 +1 is included the peak audience was 4.30 million.

Although last night’s audience was lower the first episode of the last series it was significantly higher than Channel 5’s average audience between 9pm and 11pm, which was 1.39 million viewers in 2011.

This year’s ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ housemates include ‘The X Factor’ reject Frankie Cocozza, ‘Reservoir Dogs’ actor Michael Madsen, adulterer Natasha Giggs and former Playboy bunnies Kristina and Karissa Shannon.

‘Celebrity Big Brother’ had an average audience of 3.42 million viewers, a 15.5% share, between 9pm and 11pm on Channel 5 and Channel 5 HD. Including Channel 5 +1 the average audience was 3.50 million.

The first centre break began with an ad for Fiat 500 TwinAir starring Jennifer Lopez and was followed by spots for Ikea, Virgin Holidays, the Walt Disney Company film ‘War Horse’, Sony, L’Oreal, Garnier and N&S’s OK! magazine.

Other brands advertising during the two hour show included Innocent, Marks & Spencer, Direct Line, Toyota Yaris, Kellogg’s Special K, McDonald’s, Diet Coke, First Choice and Sainsbury’s.

When Northern & Shell group bought Channel 5 for £103.5m in July 2010 ‘Big Brother’ was one of the programmes Northern & Shell chairman Richard Desmond said he wanted to bring to the broadcaster.

Northern & Shell and Endemol announced in April 2011 that they had signed a deal to bring ‘Big Brother’ to Channel 5 and as they had missed the usual January slot for ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ the show began in August instead.

According to the consolidated figures [including catch-up] from BARB the first show of 'Celebrity Big Brother' had an audience of 5.57 million viewers on 18 August making it the third most watched show on Channel 5 since its launch in 1997.

‘Celebrity Big Brother’ went on to have an average audience of 3.1 million viewers over the three week series and helped Channel 5 to more than double its audience compared to the same period in 2010 during the 9pm to 11pm slot.

Over the course of the main ‘Big Brother’ series (9 September to 11 November) Channel 5’s audience increased by over 20% year on year between 9pm and 11pm, although across 2011 Channel 5’s peak time audience (6pm to 10.30pm) declined.

Channel 5 has confirmed glamour model-turned bodybuilder Jodie Marsh is to enter the house over the weekend and will take the housemates through a bodybuilding and fitness task.

Top 10 most viewed programmes on Channel 5
Rank Programme Date and time aired Audience (Millions)
1 Euro 2000 Qualifier: Poland v England Wed 8 Sep 1999 – 19.00 5,630,000
2 World Cup Qualifier: Albania v England Wed 28 Mar 2001 – 19.00 5,590,000
3 Celebrity Big Brother 2011 launch
Thurs 18 Aug 2011 - 21.00
4 Independence Day Tue 7 Sep 1999 – 21.00 5,410,000
5 The Rock Tue 8 Feb 2000 – 2100 5,050,000
6 Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Sun 14 Nov 2004 – 21.00 4,950,000
7 Miracle on 34th Street Sun 7 Dec 2003 – 17.55 4,850,000
8 Uefa Cup 2002/3: Celtic v Liverpool Thu 13 Mar 2003 – 19.45 4,610,000
9 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Tue 17 Mar 2009 – 21.00 4,550,000
10 Joey Sun 13 Feb 2005 – 20.35 4,530,000