Big Brother Albania 1
Big Brother 1 (Albania) was the debut season of the Albanian series of the worldwide franchise of Big Brother. It launched on Saturday, 23 February, 2008, with fourteen Housemates entering the House. The show ran for 100 days and the winner was Arbër Çepani. He received a €50,000 prize.
Big Brother 1 (Albania) aired on two cable channels 24 hours a day on the Digit-Alb cable network, as well as in two additional channels on Digitalb Mobile. Daily reviews were shown Monday thru Saturday on Top Channel at 17:55 CET. The elimination show aired Saturdays at 21:00 CET, while a weekly review closed off the week at 17:55 CET on Sunday afternoon.
The main host was Arbana Osmani, while Eno Popi received the contestants in and out of the house and conducted interviews with their families. A panel of opinionists was present on the Saturday night show. Mevlan Shanaj, a film director, and Armand Peza, a screenwriter, had permanent positions in this panel, while different singers, psychologists and relevant art figures were invited every week to give their insight. One of the most notable guests was singer Jonida Maliqi who became known for her tough debates with the eliminated contestants.
14 housemates entered as original members, while 4 others were introduced later in the game. The originals would receive the full prize if they were victorious, while the newcomers would only receive a proportional amount based on the days they spent inside the house if they were to win at the end. However, an original housemate won the show, therefore winning the full prize.
Each member cast 2 nominations every Saturday along with 2 valid reasons for each nomination. Valid reasons were mandatory. Three or more players faced the public vote. The public then had one week to vote off the person that they thought should be evicted. Five contestants made their way to the final where the public voted 35% for original housemate Arbër Çepani to win the grand prize.
The normal eviction procedure was dramatically interrupted in 3 occasions. The ammunition explosions in the village of Gërdec rocked the house of Big Brother which was situated 500 meters away from the scene, forcing the network to evacuate the housemates in a secluded hotel room and cancelling the normal Saturday show. The second interruption was due to the violent fight that exploded between the two newcomers Ilda and Mardiola. Mardiola walked off the show while Ilda was ejected by the Big Brother staff. The Saturday night eviction was canceled and the SMS money spent by the public was donated to charity. The third and final delay happened the last week of the show when Dritan Hoxha, president of Top Channel, died in a car accident. The network postponed the Saturday show, therefore changing the projected length of Big Brother Albania from 99 to 100 days.
The 10th round of evictions was also unusual, since the housemates were instructed to cast 2 secret nominations without a reason, and the three contestants with the most nominations would be up for a speedy eviction by the public at home. In 20 minutes of SMS voting, the public decided to vote off Besarta with 41% of the vote.
A reunion show called “Brënda Big Brother” eng. Inside Big Brother was held the week following the finale. The housemates received a series of prizes ranging from work offers abroad to vacation packages and other prizes. Juna, an aspiring singer, received a record deal for one song and a videoclip from an Albanian label company. Jonida on the other hand earned herself a gig as an anchor at Top Albania Radio.