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No Live Birth on Dutch Reality TV Show

(Posted September 6, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

A pregnant woman on the television game show "Big Brother" will not be allowed to give birth live on television, but the baby may be shown briefly on camera, the Dutch Social Affairs ministry ruled Tuesday.

The latest Dutch version of the show, in which contestants are kept under constant camera surveillance, features a woman who was seven months pregnant when she entered the house three weeks ago.

Other births have been shown on Dutch television during educational programs, with the mother blanketed from the chest down.

But the 27-year-old woman identified only as "Tanja" must be off-camera if she gives birth during the show, the ministry said in a statement. The baby can be shown on camera once per day for eight days, and must otherwise be kept in a separate room of the "Big Brother" house where no filming takes place.

"The mother of the child that stays in the 'Big Brother' house will have free access to the baby's room," the ministry said. "The same goes for a caregiver who is not part of the show, presumably one of the (child's) grandmothers."

A spokesman for Talpa BV, which broadcasts "Big Brother," said he was happy with the decision.

"It's the mother that's important for us, not the baby," Maarten van Rooijen said. "It's not a show about birth, but about people in a social process."

In the "Big Brother" show, contestants nominate their peers for elimination, and then viewers vote them off the show one by one. Van Rooijen said Tanja may be voted off the show especially if the baby's cries become an irritation to other contestants.

"I don't know how thick the walls will be," between the baby's room and the rest of the house, he said.

Endemol, the company that produces "Big Brother," has vowed that the mother and baby will receive top-notch medical care.

Endemol released little biographical information about Tanja apart from that she comes from the northern city of Groningen, hopes to study law someday, and became pregnant unexpectedly.

She has outraged other members of the show by smoking cigarettes while pregnant, but under pressure from other group members has cut back to just three per day, Van Rooijen said.

The father of the child, an unemployed 24-year-old builder also identified only by his first name, "Shurendy" said in an interview that the pair met in a bar.

"I can't blame her for anything, I stand by her choice," he said in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. He said the pair have since split up.

"I don't know how I'll feel if the baby is born in the house," he said. "It's a strange situation."

Source: Yahoo! News

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