Nigeria: HiTV's Nigeria Reality Show Begins on Independent Day

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To commemorate Nigeria's 48th independence anniversary, HITV, Nigeria's pay TV service provider has announced October 1, as the new date for the commencement of the broadcast of its long awaited TV reality show tagged 'Nigeria'.

The show which was initially billed to commence on July 5th 2008 was suspended as a result of a court injunction at the request of Endemol, copyright owners of the Big Brother (BB) reality show which is aired on Multichoice DSTV. The injunction was later struck out by Justice A.M Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

It would be recalled that Endemol had approached the court seeking an order restraining HITV from airing the show because the concept, it claimed, was an infringement on its intellectual property right of Big Brother. As a responsible corporate citizen that operates under the principle of the rule of law, the management of HITV had to put the show on hold pending the resolution of the court case.

According to a source within HiTV, "the court case was inspired by competition out of fear that HITV will break the last stranglehold DSTV has on entertainment having successfully taken over sports from them. The injunction by Endemol is ridiculous considering the originality of the Nigeria concept which is aimed at promoting Nigerianess rather than pornographic display and abuse of Nigerian and African values which Big Brother has been propagating".

The source further stressed that the concept of Nigeria was motivated first and foremost, by the need for national integration, peaceful co-existence and mutual respect among the different ethnic groups that make up Nigeria.

Eighteen Nigerians had were selected out of the thousands that applied online to participate in the show. The screening process which was conducted across the six geo-political zones of the country produced the culturally intelligent and smart individuals who would live as neighbours during the show.

The Neighbours are expected to engage in weekly tasks that ignite their intellectual capabilities, knowledge of on-going social issues, cultural/traditional influences and international relations amongst others. The winner of these weekly tasks becomes the "President" for the week.

These Neighbours would be required to live together in a house called Nigeria for the eight week duration of the show, though deportations would take place from time to time, until a winner to be called 'the Nigerian' emerges.

Vanguard (Lagos) 8 September 2008