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'Big Brother': Ratings rise in racism flap; Howard Overby booted

August 02, 2013|By Scott Collins
  • Houseguests Candice and Howard on CBS' "Big Brother," which has been gripped by a racism scandal this summer.
Houseguests Candice and Howard on CBS' "Big Brother,"… (Lisette M. Azar / CBS )

Howard Overby, the contestant who got kicked off "Big Brother" Thursday, has called the racism scandal gripping the show "disheartening." But it doesn't seem to have hurt ratings.

The CBS reality show about young people locked together in a house rose to its highest numbers of the season on Thursday, which marked the farewell for Overby. The show was first in its 9 p.m. time slot with 7 million total viewers, according to Nielsen.

Driving the conversation about the show this summer have been the racist and homophobic comments that have repeatedly been caught on camera. Aaryn Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman made disparaging remarks about minorities that sparked an outcry. CBS issued a statement distancing itself from the comments and this week network chief Leslie Moonves called them "absolutely appalling."

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More recently, Amanda Zuckerman attacked a black contestant for her "nappy hair" and referred to Overby, who is black, as a "black mamba."

"It's very disheartening," Overby said of the racism controversy in an exit interview with zap2it.

As it happens, Overby has been involved in a controversy of his own. Zuckerman was heard complaining that she felt threatened after he whispered something to her in the house. Overby has dismissed it as good-natured sexual joshing.

"Basically it was nothing," he told zap2it. "I wouldn't harass anybody."

What have you thought of this summer's "Big Brother"?


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Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT


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