Death in Contestant's Family Sparks Blackout in 'Big Brother' TV Show

Keshet TV took program off air for four hours so relatives wouldn't learn about death through reality show.

The 24-hour live broadcast from the Neve Ilan house where "Big Brother" contestants are staying went off the air for four hours Tuesday afternoon, after a relative of one of the contestants died.

Keshet TV did not immediately explain the reason for the blackout - so that other family members would not learn about the death through the reality show - sparking rumors of a fight between the contestants.

Many viewers trying to watch the broadcast on cable or the Keshet Web site encountered a black screen, sparking an anxious wait to find out what had happened.

Keshet finally announced, "The reason for the blackout is the death of the aunt of contestant Shai Sheetrit."

Sheetrit's family could not hold the funeral during the day Tuesday because of the Simhat Torah holiday.

"The broadcast was stopped to prevent the house's residents from speaking about the family tragedy, thus letting family members who hadn't been told yet hear it first on television or the Internet," Keshet said.

But the blackout spawned insidious rumors about a brawl between Sheetrit, who was later evicted from the house, and another contestant who was also up for dismissal. The show rules mandate that any contestant who behaves violently is removed from the show immediately.