To the surprise of absolutely nobody, CBS has ordered up a 13th installment of the summertime favorite "Big Brother," bringing Julie Chen and the backstabbing hamsters back for a 2011 run.
"'Big Brother' is our summer hero," states Jennifer Bresnan, executive vice president, alternative programming, CBS Entertainment.  "Every year, our producers deliver innovative twists and turns, consistently evolving this proven franchise and engaging one of the most loyal and interactive fan bases on television and online."
This summer, that twist was The Saboteur, which was actually a dismal failure when the houseguests voted off the meddlesome player in the very first week. Despite losing its alleged hook, though, "Big Brother" gained ratings steam as the summer progressed, averaging 7.64 million total viewers, up 5 percent over last summer. The series has also displayed year-to-year growth of 4 percent among adults 18-49 and 10 percent among adults 18-34.
The show premiered in 2000 and has been a steady regular performer for CBS with three weekly airings during the sluggish summer months. CBS also got a spring season out of "Big Brother" back in 2008 as filler during and after the writers strike.
"Big Brother" wraps up its 12th installment with a two-hour finale on Wednesday night, as Lane, Enzo and Hayden compete for the $500,000 prize.
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.