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Dutch Big Brother Is Watching!

It's a contest. It's a TV show. And it's a rather revealing way of life for eight contestants and a national television audience.

CBS News Correspondent Richard Roth lets This Morning in on what can only be called a phenomenon of the television age.


It has become the hottest show on Dutch TV: The 100-day saga of eight ordinary people cut off from the outside world and kept under constant surveillance.

The stars of Big Brother are called "guests." They are volunteers whose daily lives are followed by 24 cameras and 59 microphones.

Bedrooms and bathroom are part of the set, which is a specially built isolated compound where everything is on camera around the clock.

"I think, in every one of us, there is a little bit of a voyeur. And this show appeals to that feeling," says producer Paul Romer.

The nightly show is a half-hour summary of the day's drama or lack of it. Coverage on an Internet is unedited.

Media critics called it boring. An anti-smoking group complains there's too much lighting up. And psychologists have said it's cruel. But viewers are making it a hit.

"I think people at home react like that because you don't know what is going to happen. You're just looking at it, and that's amazing," says director Andre Anten.

And audience participation provides suspense. Viewers decide when a guest gets evicted.

Martin, a 32-year-old air-conditioning salesman, was the first expelled. He called it bad luck because at New Year's when the program ends, whoever's left wins a $120,000 prize - and privacy.

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