It is almost that time of year again. It simply would not be summer without Big Brother, the enormously popular reality show that has been running on CBS for years now. It is on three nights a week and usually people are separated into two camps, those who think Big Brother is incredibly dumb, and those who live for it and can’t wait for each episode. If you are reading this article you could be either type.
An awful lot of reality TV follows a certain pattern- break the contestants up into different groups and have them compete at various challenges. Make sure to get the hottest contestants wearing the least amount of clothing and give them the most amount of face time. Find controversy and milk it. Find rivalries and encourage them. Try to see who might hook up with who. and of course, revel in backstabbing, lying and cheating among the contestants. Big Brother is no different.
In fact, Big Brother is like Survivor’s (the Grandaddy of reality TV) indoor cousin. While in Survivor contestants battle the elements with a bunch of people they don’t know completely cut off from the world, on Big Brother they are stuck in a house with a bunch of people they don’t know completely cut off from the outside world. The only good thing about this if you are a guy is that most of the women on the show are ridiculously hot. The whole point of the show, of course, is to continue to vote out contestants until only one remains, which makes for a lot of lying, manipulation, rivalries, and darn good television.
But like any reality show on television, a lot goes on behind the scenes that you don’t know anything about. Reality TV is always a mix of what is real and what the producers of the show want you to see, and Big Brother is no exception. What kind of secrets are behind the Big Brother curtain? You’ll have to read on to find out. Here is TheRichest’s list of 15 secrets you didn’t know about Big Brother.
15. Contestant Receive Suspicious Letter Before Arriving
If there is one thing that Big Brother is known for – it is fighting. Sometimes it seems like people’s entire strategy while they are on the show is to do nothing but fight. So all of those fights you see every year, how do they happen? Are the people that the producers pick to be on the show really that unstable? Well, the answer to that is yes and also no. The fights are pretty much planned and happen on purpose. First of all, contestants on the basis of if they are likely to fight, or at least they hope they will; they don’t want a boring show. But it goes deeper than that. Before the contestants arrive they get a letter that reads “Think about the types of people that fire you up, make you mad, bother you, etc.” The letter tells them not to get along with everyone. That would be bad TV.
14. They Are Told To Look Hot
This may be no surprise, at least to those of you who think about such things, but not only are contestants for the show picked because they are hot, they are also told to try and look hot on the show. They are asked to spend a lot of time shirtless or in bikinis and are told they should be looking their best for pool time. It is TV after all, so it is hard to give them too hard of a time on this one. We all get a little bummed out when one of the hot chicks gets voted out, and I am sure some of you women out there feel the same about guys. Let’s face it, hardly anyone would watch Big Brother if all the people on it were average looking. Checking them out is half the fun. Okay, it is more than half the fun sometimes.
13. One Of The Winners Used His Victory Money To Become A Dealer
Adam Jasinski was the winner of Big Brother 9. Part of the reason he won the prize was his speech of how he would donate $100,000 of his winnings to help autistic kids. Some of the people that voted for him actually said later on that was the main reason that they voted for him. In reality he used his money to start a drug ring. He was arrested with 2,000 oxycodone pills, which he paid for with his Big Brother check. He was sentenced to four years in prison. “Hmm, I just won $500,000, what should I do with it? Buy a house? Travel the world? Invest in a retirement account? I know, I will buy a whole bunch of Oxycodone.” What a dummy, and I don’t feel bad saying that. You are supposed to be a drug dealer before you have a half a million dollars, not after.
12. Slop Is Actually Really Bad
Anyone that watches the show knows about slop, but for those of you who don’t it is a nasty concoction of food that is given to house guests to eat as some form of punishment. It is mostly made of oatmeal and is officially defined by CBS as a “just-add-water, nutritionally fortified porridge mix.” Mmm. So when people act like they are getting bummed out about being on slop, they aren’t acting. Here is the recipe. And here are the ingredients: natural oats, proprietary blend of whey protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, wheat protein isolate, milk protein isolate, natural and artificial flavors, vitamins and minerals, as well as vitamin A palmitate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin, vitamin D3, alpha tocopherol, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, zinc oxide, copper gluconate, manganese sulfate, ferrous sulfate, folic acid, potassium iodide, cellulose gum, salt and acesulfame potassium. Yum!
11. There Are Big Brother Shows All Over the World
Big Brother truly is everywhere. The show is in numerous countries all over the world, and in fact actually started as a Dutch TV show. There is Big Brother Africa of Africa, Big Brother of the Middle East, Big Brother of South America, Big Brother of Scandinavia and Big Brother of the Balkans, to name just a few. Of course there is a Big Brother in England as well, which is one of the more famous ones. Here are a few more countries where there is a Big Brother. At least you know you can always watch if you are traveling and kind of get it: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and of course the UK. There is also one in Canada.
10. They Get Sequestered Even When Trying Out
Even before people come on the show, they are partly cut off from the outside world. Of course, they are in luxury hotel rooms while it is happening. While trying out to be on the show contestants are sequestered in a hotel; they spend much of their time there talking to doctors and producers about how fit they are for the show and whether or not they would be good contestants. While they can watch TV and make phone calls they can’t see anyone from their personal life, and are not allowed to talk to any of the other contestants. This is similar to what they do for Survivor and The Amazing Race as well. Sometimes contestants see other people that look kind of like their age, also alone in the hotel gym or dining areas and are told not to talk to them, because they don’t want info shared.
9. George Orwell’s Estate Sued Because Of The Name
Most of you have heard of the novel Big Brother which was written by George Orwell and is considered one of the all time classics of literature. And when I say most of you: hopefully you all have. The whole point of the book is that one is being watched at all times and you have no secrets. So it was not a simple thing of just having the same name; it was pretty obvious that the TV show chose the name for a reason and in some way was making some bank off the name of the book. Apparently, the producers of the show didn’t think much about totally stealing the name of the book for their show. I mean why would anyone care or get uptight about something like that? Orwell’s estate sued and both sides reached some form of confidential cash settlement; I really hope they got a lot.
8. The Chenbot Rules
Julie Chen has been host of Big Brother in America since it began all those many years ago. I think most people feel a pretty similar way that I do about her in her role as the host of the show. I don’t think she does a particularly good job at it, but with that said, I also can’t imagine the show with anyone else hosting it. She has a bit of a wooden and robotic delivery at times which has given her the nickname of the “Chenbot.” At first this bothered her a bit, but now she says “‘Oh my God! I am The Chenbot.’ Then I embraced my inner Chenbot because I realized all the criticism was dead-on.” This is all fine with us as the thought of a Julie Chen robot is kind of hot. I wonder if there is any way I can purchase one of those?
7. Contestants Must Have Watched A Full Season To Apply
The producers don’t mess around when it comes to contestants knowing their games and the strategy involved in playing Big Brother. They are all required to have watched at least one full season of the show before becoming a contestant. All I know is I hope that they picked a good season, like they got to watch Chill Town win, or Dan Gheesling, because some of the seasons were pretty horrible. So while you may think that they are all super fans because they all seem to know strategy, this is not necessarily true. Some of them only know the show because it was a contractual requirement for them to be on. Even with people having watched a whole season it is apparent right from the start who knows how to play, although maybe those people are manipulative in real life as well, one would think the easier it is to lie in real life the easier it would be to lie in the game.
6. They Are All Tested For STDs
All of the contestants are tested for STD’s before they come on the show. It is a part of their contract. This is probably a good idea considering how many “Showmances” there are on Big Brother. I suppose there would be some sort of chance of a lawsuit if something happened on the show and someone caught something. But seriously who even wants to think about that on Big Brother. Yuck. In fact if you remember the one year when Evel Dick Donato left during the middle of the show, it was because he was informed that he had HIV. He claimed that he was asked to leave. The producers of the show said they just informed him of it, and the decision to leave the show was his own. I am going to have to go with the producers on this one as Evel Dick is kind of shady.
5. They Get Paid Around $750 A Week
If you ever wonder what these people get paid when they are on the show, the answer is around $750 a week. This is obviously not a whole lot to have your whole life exposed to the world and every second of what you do filmed, but hey, some people like that. Of course they also have no expenses when they are there so it can be a little bit of coin if they last long enough. And for some people even that is a lot of money; I know I have been places before where making $5 grand for being on a TV show for 8 weeks would seem like I was on easy street. The winner of the show of course gets a cool $500,000, and the second place contestant gets $50K. The first and second place winners also have to skip the $750 a week. What cheapskates, right? The rest of them get embarrassed and $750 a week.
4. The House Is Kind Of Nasty
This is no huge surprise to me. If you put a bunch of young people alone in a house for a few weeks and it is a place that none of them owns, are they really going to take good care of it? So apparently the whole place is kind of gross. One TV critic who got to tour the house said, “the most striking thing is what a gross mess it was, with the smell of trash and food in the kitchen. There was hair in the drain and, thanks to Rachel, hair extensions exposed in a bag on the floor.” Well, that sounds really nice doesn’t it? Sign me up! “You mean I get to live here, get filmed, and get $750 a week!” According to the same critic, crew members that he has spoken to say that by the end of the year the house smells really bad.
3. They Can’t Usually See The Camera People
Of course, there are some cameramen the contestants can see. Every once in a great while you can even see one of them in a shot, if something important happens and they have to use that footage. While there are some camera operators that follow contestants around, for the most part, the camera operators are behind a one way mirror in the house. The cameras are on a track that goes all the way through the house and into the back yard. When the contestants are outside they can see the camera operators on the roof and there is also a camera that comes down mechanically to get some of the action. So basically they hang out all day, and in the meantime there are dozens of dudes with cameras behind a see through wall, inches from their face. Now that sounds like a really good time for all.
2. People Really Do Listen To Every Word
There is pretty much nothing that anyone on Big Brother can say or do that is not monitored. I assume they can go to the bathroom on their own, but I am not even all that sure about that. Just kidding. I am sure they can. As many of you know, there is a live feed that viewers can watch that show what is going on during the house 24-7. There are also people that work on the show monitoring it that are logging pretty much everything people say, and what they do, so it can be gone back to at a later time. That way when the show is being edited it is a lot easier for the producers to get specific footage. So basically even if you whisper something to yourself in an empty room at three in the morning, someone is going to hear it eventually.
1. They Hear Music We Don’t
We all know about the loudspeaker on the show, as fans of Big Brother can hear it when it makes announcements during the show. It tells people when a competition is coming up, when a house meeting or an eviction happens, and it even tells folks when the Chenbot wants to tell them something. What we don’t hear is music that is blasted through the loudspeaker that is used to pump up contestants to get them ready for competitions. This is just one more sign of many signs that what seems like reality TV is not quite that. Either way, it is fun to watch, and that is pretty much all that matters. Which is pretty much what you can say for the whole show. To most that watch reality TV and consider themselves big fans. Big Brother is only second to Survivor when it comes to being the best in the business.