There’s always talk of conspiracies and game rigging during Big Brother and this year is no exception. It’s practically a BB tradition so I’ll give you my thoughts on it like so many others over the years. I’ll try to back up my opinions with facts but even facts have different interpretations so you’ll have to decide for yourself. I’ll list some examples of production involvement and some odd things that have occured over the seasons. To begin, I don’t believe BB is rigged and I don’t think CBS really cares who wins. However, it is manipulated and influenced throughout the game. Rigged and manipulated aren’t the same thing to me. They don’t care who wins the money but they do want certain players to stay in the house as long as possible. I’m not bashing BB, I love it and would hate to spend my summer without it. Feed watchers are an opinionated group of people and some seasons, the fans are as entertaining to me as the hg’s. TV viewers have strong opinions too. Most seasons have fans involved with voting for AFP and sometimes other things. I’ll address the voting now and get it out of the way. I don’t think voting is rigged but I acknowledge that it could be. It wouldn’t be hard for them to do it but I can’t remember a time when the voting results didn’t match up with online chatter so it seems legit. People shouldn’t get on their favorite BB site, look at that weeks poll and decide it’s rigged. It’s like having red states and blue states. Some bloggers, update sites and the people who comment will tend to lean a certain direction with favorites from site to site. People also change their minds weekly and today’s hero will be tomorrow’s dud because we’re a fickle bunch. Twitter gains lots of momentum with votes and that’s before you factor in all the votes from the tv audience. Tv viewers will have one perspective and BBAD & feed watchers will have another so unless you can poll many different groups, you can’t assume you know how the “majority” is voting. You could be in the minority without knowing it because everyone is different. (There may be 1 person out there who thinks BB9 was the best season ever. I’m gonna think they’re an idiot but they’re still gonna think it)
If you can accept BB for what it is, it can be less frustrating to watch. The earlier seasons were a social experiment that we got to watch play out live. It’s evolved into a behind the scenes look at how a tv show is made at times. (I’ve said this before but it’s true) We see DR footage that’s scripted, twists to help keep the key “players” from being “killed off” the show and more hg’s using it as a 3 month audition for acting and modeling roles. However, we still get to see people trying to get along while living in a house together, some strategizing (maybe not this year) and some of the original show is still there. It’s just hiding under layers of Ravens make up. We know it’s changed, but we still have moments when we see something ridiculous and throw a tantrum or at least throw something at the tv or computer. (cotton balls and wadded-up paper work well, that way you can take a stand against BB injustice without having to go out and buy new electronics. Our BBJ moderator, NK says socks aren’t bad either) I get mad even though I’m not surprised but I go into it with realistic expectations so I get over it quickly. CBS will continue to piss us off with their choices and we’ll continue to raise hell over them. Let’s face it, we’re in a dysfunctional relationship with them and we stay because we hold out hope that it will get better. (I’m not speaking for tv viewers, you guys may be thrilled for all I know)
I’m not trying to ruin it for anyone and if you wish to continue to believe that everything CBS shows you on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings is true, please stop reading now! You can enjoy the show “as seen on tv” if you choose. (I do wish you weren’t allowed to vote – nothing personal) I understand why Charles Barkley has complained about fans getting to vote for the players who play in the NBA All-Star Weekend. He says that it’s nothing personal, it’s just that we don’t know what the hell we’re talking about and we don’t make good decisions. As an NBA fan, I could get offended by that but I don’t. I wish people on both sides of the “production involvement” argument could stop being so sure of their position when it doesn’t hold water. Some think it’s a game where everything is fair. They’ll never convince people of that because they aren’t willing to concede facts we’ve seen and heard that dispute it. They lose credibility because of their denial. This is also true for the conspiracy people out there. There are blatant examples of production interference so people get irritated and then think everything is a conspiracy. The people on this side lose credibility because they take it way too far. The hg’s having chicken for dinner isn’t a clue that Chicken George is going to host a comp. If a comp is held at night, it doesn’t mean CBS is trying to get out the person who enjoys morning exercise and likes to go to bed early. (Helen is the exception to conspiracy ideas and gets a free pass. Maybe I’m biased because she rocks! The comment section at BBJ would be lost without Helen! Keep doing you, boo. You’re amazing.)
Production IS involved in the game. It starts before people even enter the house. If you’ve ever seen a copy of the contract the hg’s sign you know what I mean. (Doesn’t everyone research the internet for stuff like that or is it just me?) I’m not going over it in detail because it’s lengthy and a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo. Hg’s sign a contract stating that CBS can change the game, the rules and anything else they want to change at any given time during the process. They aren’t referred to as contestants, they’re referred to as participants. If you’re on a traditional gameshow and you’re being chosen from the public population, there are laws governing fairness. BB hg’s are pre-selected for the show as “participants” so they don’t fall into that category. Think of it as actors who get to say whatever they want instead of reading lines most of the time. BB is also marketed as an entertainment show, not a game show. (kind of like wrestling- you know, some of it’s scripted but they’re still getting to throw each other on the ground for real) BB can bring anyone back, get rid of anyone, script what they want said and show nothing or everything of a hg’s behavior. They can have last minute twists, change how a twist enters the game and end one prematurely. The contract says that “all decisions regarding the show will be decided according to the procedures established by the producers and at its sole discretion.” (that means there are no rules and anything they do is allowed) We think the show is about competitions and everyone having a shot at 500K. Nope… The show is about ratings and putting out a successful product that people want to watch just like every other show on tv. All 16 people don’t necessarily have an equal shot at winning this money entering the game. Any one of them could win but some will have more obstacles to do it. CBS didn’t know Cameron was going home on day 1 but they damn well knew somebody was. If the hg’s hadn’t gone for the 25K to let Paul in, they would have probably raised the amount. It was the highest amount ever offered as an in-game cash prize so somebody was taking it. BB isn’t forcing people to lose competitions either. People have stayed in the game despite productions efforts to get things to go another way during a particular week. There have been occasions when DR interference has changed the course of the game. There have been other times when interference was attempted but wasn’t successful. Some people fell for it and others didn’t, it’s as simple as that. Sometimes, when production didn’t get what they wanted, they threw in a twist to force it to go the way they wanted. In those situations, some “participants” have been screwed. We’re familiar with many events in past seasons. Everyone may not be aware of the details surrounding some of those events. Here are examples involving game manipulation, hg rule-breaking or a storylines that CBS wanted to push. Let’s start with twists:
- BB11- Jeff got the coup d’tat – the most power ever given to someone in the game. (until this year) He was a fan favorite as was the showmance of Jeff & Jordan. No way in hell CBS was having his game in jeopardy until they had milked the ratings for all they could get. This twist not only undermined Chima’s HOH, it sent Jesse home for the second time because of a twist. (He was sent home in BB10 with America’s vote the week Dan was America’s player) Chima got pissed (understandably) and she was ejected from the game. I’m not insinuating that production had a direct hand in Chima being ejected because her anger and refusal to follows the rules caused that. She thought she had a shot at winning and the game was going to be fair. (The nerve of her to think something that crazy!) She was wrong so production definitely had a direct hand in her anger. Maybe they hadn’t calculated that she would be THAT angry, keep tossing her microphone in the pool and refusing to go to the DR. (the mics are expensive and not treating them well is a huge no no) Jeff took down both her noms, replaced them with his own and he negated her entire HOH week.
- BB9- Sharon was eliminated in the HOH comp at Final 4. They got a question asking them how many pre-existing relationships are still in the house. (There had been a couple that year, I think) If you watch a clip of this, you can hear typing and papers being shuffled in the background after they gave their answers followed by a pause. It was a strange moment, Julie appeared confused by it too but she eventually announced that there was still a pre-existing relationship in the house and it was the pet hamsters that had been there all summer. It was ridiculous! Sharon should have won the hoh but was evicted that week instead.
- BB7- Mike Boogie got the coup d’tat. I called Jeff’s the biggest because Boogie didn’t get to keep his so technically he didn’t have it. The rules said that he wasn’t allowed to tell anyone but he told Will. This resulted in BB taking the power away from him. The hg’s weren’t told this and America wasn’t either. Boogie ends up strong arming Chicken George into nominating Howie by threatening to unleash the power if he doesn’t do what Boogie wants. (a power he no longer has) During the show, Julie asked if anyone wanted to use the power that week before they continued like she does any time a power is good for multiple weeks. The problem was, Julie knew that Boogie didn’t have a power to unleash anymore. Boogie didn’t stand up and use it because he didn’t have it and the viewers just thought that he chose not to use it. No one ever knew. Without the feeds, no one would have ever known. Howie’s game ended that week but Chilltown lived to fight another day and get good tv ratings.
- BB14- Returning players came in to coach. (we needed them this year) They couldn’t be voted out because they weren’t playing the game. After BB gave them a free pass for a few weeks, they were given the choice to enter the game. (It’s like the 25k this year where there’s a 99.9% chance it’s going to go the way you want it to go) There’s no way they were going to have 4 highly competitive people give up their entire summer unless they were allowed to compete for the money. Someone was going to push that damn button. (This is actually me giving CBS the benefit of the doubt because it’s possible it was pre-arranged since one or more of the returning players could have made it a stipulation that they wouldn’t come back unless they got to compete) Remember who the four coaches were. These weren’t people happy to sit on the sidelines. The first month people couldn’t target them because they weren’t supposed to be players.
- BB13- Rachel & Jordan were in trouble and ta da, presto…we have a team veto that week. CBS wanted to keep these two ratings getters, I mean women in the game. Rachel wins and suddenly her teammate who was terrible at comps was safe too.
- BB13- Brenden got to come back into the game. It was one of those things that wasn’t a possibility until it became a necessity.
- BB OTT- Morgan got a care pkg that was explained to voters (in writing on the website) as an automatic veto winner. Once Shelby was in trouble, her care pkg changed to having a veto AND being able to save a friend. Shelby was my favorite so being a hypocrite, I didn’t care but if I was a family member or fan of who went home that week, I’d have been pissed because Shelby was on her way out the door. Corey got a care pkg in BB18 and they changed it too.
There are also times when BB SHOULD step in and they don’t. Here are some examples of the lack of BB interference or BB “oops” moments:
- BB12- Brendon opened Pandora’s Box when he was hoh and unleashed Rachel back into the house for 24 hours. (she had been evicted) He was locked up and didn’t get to be with her while she was there. She spelled out the word “Matt” with pretzels and left it as a message to Brendon in the HOH room before she left. You aren’t allowed to spell or write anything. It’s one of the BB rule donts. Matt wasn’t on Brendon’s radar but it sure got Matt nominated that week. We’ve seen people get called out for trying to play tic tac toe using the color change of the fabric on the sofas as recently as this season and they’ve been called out for attempting to write with eyeliner in the past. The pretzel msg was a big no no.
- BB8- Dick told Danielle about his HOH letter from his son and he explained the code his son used to send him messages in it. It had something to do with the first and last letter of each word but I don’t remember now. He said they worked it out before Dick left for BB. If we heard it, so did production but nothing was ever said or done. They did start having HOH letters written and sent in prior to the show being aired after that.
- BB 18- Nicole and Corey planned to cheat on a comp if only one of them were in the final 3. It’s the comp where they ask the jury to complete a sentence and they have to guess which way the juror answered. They had a plan for giving both a serious answer and a comical one and decided in advance which one of those to go with. They’re not the first people who have discussed this. For that reason and the fact that I think it’s a stupid comp, I wish they would do away with it.
- BB OTT- They had an oops moment during a comp when production staff could be heard yelling, cussing and cheering from behind a wall. It was clear they wanted Danielle to lose and Whitney to win. CBS staff are entitled to have faves but having the hg’s know who they are is inexcusable. I understand OTT was an experimental season and it had a lot of glitches but keeping yourself from being heard during a comp isn’t new so it shouldn’t have happened. Danielle walked away from the comp knowing that production was rooting against her. I was too but I don’t work for CBS.
- The have not rule enforcement has changed alot over the years. A couple people have gotten extra days on slop for accidentally eating something. In BB12, Enzo practically hauled around a picnic inside that penguin costume when he was a HN. Many hg’s have cheated. I don’t know why they still have it, it’s not featured on the show anymore and those fun food comps are long gone. From observations, it seems like it’s used more to pick on people they don’t like. They’re the ones who usually get called out for it.
- We all witnessed the REPEATED attempts this season from Paul, Josh, Alex, Raven and Christmas to try to get Mark and Cody to hit someone or to self evict. I’m not speculating about the motive because we heard them say that’s what they were trying to do. Those also happen to be two of the biggest things BB says you can’t do.
Production needs to get narrative diary room footage so viewers can follow the storyline for the clips they show and its used to let us know the players game strategies in private so I understand the reason for them. (I’m not going to start harping on the scripted DR’s and missing the good old days of DR gold from people like Janelle, Britney, Will, and Danielle(BB3). I could fill a page about it. It was great, we don’t have it anymore, it sucks, so moving on) DR’s are also used to ask leading and suggestive questions, get them paranoid and get them to make decisions that will help the show, sometimes at the expense of the players’ games. There are LOTS of examples of diary room interference but here are a few:
- BB18- Natalie was planning to take a shot at Nicole and Corey but after she came out of a DR session she had changed her mind. She told James that production REALLY wanted them to work with Nicole and Corey. This is what I mentioned earlier about how sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. BB4 winner Jun has said the DR discusses things with you that maybe you didn’t know but it’s stuff you should be asking yourself anyway so it’s no big deal. She’s a past winner so obviously her opinion has merit. So do the opinions of other past hg’s who disagree with her. Jun had a strong personality and she played when people were still trying win instead of getting jobs and followers. Jun was going to do whatever the hell she wanted anyway. Someone like Natalie, who’s there for a bit of celebrity and the CBS spin of a showmance is absolutely going to take productions advice. If she’s told working with Nicole and Corey will make for “better tv” she’s going to do it and she did.
- BB8- Dick’s been vocal about how much the DR tries to manipulate and steer the game. Either Dustin or Eric (can’t remember) would have went home on a particular week in his season except he said the DR intervened. It happens a lot, it just didn’t work on Dick. I don’t see anyone telling him what to do but players like him are rare, especially now. He isn’t a bitter loser lying about CBS. He won BB8 and was invited back 5 seasons later. Other players have said similar things.
- BB7- Here’s a quote from Howie during All Stars. He was complaining to Janelle about DR pressure. This was his second time playing so he wasn’t a newbie. He said “if they would shut up, the game would be so much easier. They incite people to do things, they say they don’t cheat and help people…. but bullshit.”
- BB8- Dick, Danielle and Jen had a conversation on feeds about how the DR tips them off to things that otherwise, they would have no idea was going on in the house.
- BB9- Amanda complained on feeds about how they made her say “all these things in there that she didn’t want to say.”
- BB9- Adam said on feeds he felt the DR was putting so much pressure on him “to nominate certain people.”
- BB14- Boogie was heard on feeds saying how he and Shane were being told to keep Frank in the house during their DR’s. Boogie talked about how blatantly obvious and pushy they were about it. (CBS and especially Alison Grodner loves her some Frank)
- BB8- Eric was America’s player. He wanted Danielle out the week he won the veto but he was forced not to use it because production said they didn’t know how America would want him to use it. They had planned for every possible scenario except the fact that Eric could win a veto?? Sure. CBS was also loving the father-daughter storyline. Eric was sent home on a DE right after.
Here are some of the storylines that BB has pushed to keep in the house:
- Shomances-BB loves a showmance so it isn’t a shock that Brenden & Rachel and Jeff & Jordan have had assistance. Just between these 4, they’ve had a duo safety veto, player returning, power to take over the HOH, Pandora’s box and all playing more than one season. They’ve also had special guest appearances anytime they have marriage, engagement or baby announcements, appearances to host competitions and until recently a job interviewing the hg’s before and after the show. (Jeff and Jordan moved to Colorado so he gave up the gig)
- The Female Factor- Nicole was America’s sweetheart in season 16. When she returned in 18, she had everything CBS loves. She was innocent and sweet (as long as you didn’t watch the live feeds) a popular returning player, had been in a showmance and to put a cherry on top of that BB sundae, she got in another showmance. There had also been a lot of chatter in recent years about wanting another female winner. BB18 is a perfect example of meeting in the middle for how you feel about production because they definitely took steps to help Nicole but they knew they had good ratings with the sitting ducks, Paul and Victor. They can’t know these things beforehand and they do highlight what’s good for ratings as it evolves. (If everything was rigged, you can also bet your ass that Franks envelope would have had the ticket to let him back in the house. He didn’t even make it to jury) Vanessa was another who played during the time of “why hasn’t a female won in so long.” She worked for it, deserved it but lost in the end. (If it was rigged, Vanessa would have won) In BB15, Elissa won the MVP thing every week. She was Rachel’s sister who had tons of fans by then so it was almost like having vet status for votes. All the racists ruined that season anyway.
- Returning Players- I believe certain competitions are held at calculated times to give a particular person an advantage. I don’t know that for sure but it’s happened too many times for me to think it’s a coincidence. They know which comps traditionally work better for small people, fast people, long lanky bodies, etc. but they still have to win it on their own. ALL returning players have an advantage in comps because they’ve done them before. They have an advantage in the mental part of the game too as they are better prepared for the boring days, missing family, etc. Returning players like Paul and a few others have the greatest advantage because they played in back-to-back seasons. Paul isn’t competing in comps he did years ago-it was last summer. Those things still may not be enough to keep them around so they throw in twists that are usually geared to help the vets stay in the game. They bring them back because a familiar face and a fan favorite can help get people to watch when the season starts. As viewers get to know the new hg’s and acquire new favorites, it isn’t as important for them to stay because by then, people are tuned in anyway. Usually, most returning players lose their appeal to viewers. For every Janelle and Will who stayed popular, there is a James and Nicole who didn’t.
- Players with good edits- Nicole in 16 and 18 was seen as a sweet girl so they weren’t going to show her being petty to the other women on BB18 or all her bedroom activities with Corey in the tv clips. Don’t get me wrong, some of the stuff we see on the feeds can’t be aired but they haven’t had a problem on other seasons showing clips that let the viewers know just how far a “relationshit” has gone. (Shout out Shivani33-I borrowed her word) They’ve thrown more than one woman under the BB bus over the years. Nicole’s storyline is her being the sweet, innocent girl from a tiny little town so she didn’t get that treatment but the footage was there. Danielle in 14 was edited to look like that seasons Alabama Southern Belle so viewers didn’t see her yell at people, have tantrums, pout and tell outlandish stories very similar to Ravens. Liz and Julia, the twins from 17 could have been shown as mean and petty since they were completely horrible but there was a twin twist to focus on. Paul in 18 and so far in 19 hasn’t been shown as an arrogant jerk who takes things to another level when it comes to personal attacks, trying to get someone to self evict or hit someone. Last year, he was shown as this quirky underdog who played secret service agent, wore a blow up duck and used catchy phrases. We’ll have to wait and see how the next few weeks go to decide this years edit.
There are more examples but it would be the same stories with different names and seasons. Hopefully, these are enough to show that we’re all sort of right. There isn’t a predetermined winner, it isnt a waste of time cheer on your favorite player and we do get to see what happens when you toss a bunch of people together who otherwise would’ve never met. It also shows that having a favorite is fun but maybe we shouldn’t get too invested in them and that everything may be fair in love and war but not necessarily in Big Brother.
Lets move on to some BB history you may or may not know because not everyone has been watching for 19 seasons, plus 1 if you count OTT.
- The game format was changed after season 1. America voted for the winner that year. The producers felt the hg’s tried to portray themselves in a better light rather than being authentic since we were going to vote. That was a good decision because we wouldn’t have seen the ruthless game we like without the change. At one point, the entire cast remaining in the house (maybe 6 people) almost walked out together to quit the show. That house was really messing with their heads.
- There was no veto in BB1 and BB2. People were nominated, you sat there all week and somebody went home.
- In some of the earlier seasons, they had a vegetable garden. Over the years they’ve had chickens, a pig, a dog, turtles, and hamsters for pets.
- They started sequestering the jury after BB3. Danielle Reyes lost by a vote of 9-1 because the evicted hg’s were allowed to go home and watch the show before the finale. She talked smack about them in the DR and they were offended by it. She is in my opinion, the best player ever who didn’t win the game and had amazing DR’s. She was robbed and CBS knew it. This was also the first season with a veto comp.
- BB5 was the first season with twins and it’s also the season that caused the veto player pick to be changed. Nakomis was the first player to realize how to backdoor someone. It was called the six finger plan because of 6 players. Up to this point, players picked whoever they wanted so she suggested NOT nominating the people they wanted out in order to prevent them from playing in the veto comp. They changed the rules to drawing chips so people had a chance.
- BB6 is the year they got a new house with an upstairs. Before that, the hoh was just a tiny bedroom located with everything else in a 1 story house.
- The first 10 (approximately) seasons, they had to compete to earn food for the week, the hot tub and other things. Those were the best comps ever!
- The All Star season BB7 is when slop was introduced into the game. Before that, it was PB&J. It’s rumored that one of the reasons there will never be another All Stars (I hope it’s wrong) is because in BB7, the hg’s were a nightmare. They would have “sing outs.” They would sing knowing the feeds would have to be cut and would do it until production would bring them alcohol, food from certain restaurants, etc. Some of them also snuck away and left the jury house when they were sequestered. BB also pays returning players a flat fee plus they earn the weekly stipend which is said to be more than new players get. The older vets have more established careers and kids now too so I don’t see many of the ones we would want to see come back anyway.
- Two hg’s have gone to the hospital because of an allergic reaction to slop. They were both in BB9. Victoria in BB16 was found unconscious on the bathroom floor and I think went to the hospital too.
- 4 hg’s have been ejected from the game: Justin-BB2, Scott-BB4, Chima-BB11 and Willie-BB14.
- Three hg’s left voluntarily for emergency or personal reasons. They are Neil-BB9, Dick-BB13 and Megan-BB19.
- BBOTT’s diary leak with Shelby isn’t the first times that’s happened. It’s happened several times over the years.
- The person wearing the Zingbot costume started yelling to let them out in BB12 and almost passed out from the heat. The person wearing it in BB14 did pass out from the heat. Hg, JennCity, assisted them until the medic could be brought in.
- Just as production has their favorites, they also have players they don’t like. Sometimes, for the same reasons as us but they have other reasons too. Danielle in OTT was always breaking the no napping rule and she wouldn’t ever get up when they called her. (There’s one of those every year) She was annoying as hell and her stories started grating on your nerves. It’s wrong that she heard production rooting against her but I understand why they were. The women in BB17 and BB18 would take an hour or two getting to the DR when called. They wanted to do their hair and make up first. (Raven did that this year and I heard her complaining that when she finally went to the door, they wouldn’t let her in-payback) Some hg’s are a pain in the ass for the staff. Some are simply annoying. (Raven got called in and told to respect her microphone because she wouldn’t stop screaming) If we think she’s annoying, can you imagine how people in the control room feel? People who quote movie lines and sing alot are a problem too because the staff has to be on their toes and switch the cameras quickly. It’s the same when you have a hg who constantly ignores the rule for talking about production. Everyone slips up but some hg’s ignore them and keep going when told to stop. Their job is harder when dealing with these people. They also have subtle ways of getting back at them. I mentioned earlier how it seems they’re selective over who they stay on top of with HN’s. Elena got called out for things more often than others but based on her makeup and reason for going on BB, she was probably someone who took forever to go to the DR when called and she was constantly being told to wake up. In BB17, Austin hated his stinky guy comic so what did CBS do for BB18? They named the imaginary smelly guy who was stinking up the bathroom inside the road kill camper “Uncle Austin.” They’ve taken digs at people over the years, they’re subtle but there if you’re paying attention. I don’t know what Austin did to get on their bad side but having to watch him paw and stalk Liz all summer would have been enough for me.
I’ve never cared about going to a live show but I’d kill for a chance to go through the area where all the cameras are and talk to the staff. I’d love to know which players they’ve disliked the most and if they’re different from my picks, if they look forward to Kevin’s stories this year like I do and if Justin cracked them up during OTT. I want to know if they hated Rachel and loved Britney and which hg bathed the least. (guessing Austin) Did they think Renny was a blast and are they tired of seeing Jesse come back? How many people are needed to set up the big comps? (They can’t have a smooth set up like TD Garden in Boston does laying and removing the parquet basketball court over the hockey rink, can they? They don’t do it often enough) How many trips does it take to carry in the groceries every week and who does the shopping? How big is the location where they test out the new comps and who are the people getting to do that fun job? How long does it take to change the decor in the house each year and do they have it professionally cleaned after each season? If I ever get the answers to these and 1000 more questions, I’ll be sure to pass it along to you. Whether you’re fairly new to BB, if you’ve seen every season and especially if you took the time to read all this, I hope I gave you at least one interesting tidbit that you didn’t know before.