Big Brother (franchise)
International logo of Big Brother
|Also known as||Secret Story
Celebrity/VIP Big Brother
Teen Big Brother
|Created by||John de Mol|
|Developed by||John de Mol
|First shown in||Netherlands|
|Original release||16 September 1999– present|
|Big Brother on Endemol|
Big Brother is a reality game show franchise created by John de Mol and was originally based on "1984", a book by George Orwell. The novel was set on 1984, where the Big Brother was a leader who ruled with an iron fist, monitoring his society. The premise of the show is that there is a group of people, dubbed as "housemates" or "houseguests", living together in a specially constructed large house. During their time in the house they are isolated from the outside world and are not commonly aware of outside event or have access to any electronic devices. Contestants are continuously monitored by in-house television cameras as well as personal audio microphones during their entire stay. Each season lasts for about three months, with at least ten contestants entering the house. To win the final cash prize, a contestant must survive periodic (usually weekly) evictions and be the last housemate or houseguest remaining in the compound by the series' conclusion. In English-speaking countries the programme is often referred to as "BB".
- 1 Background
- 2 Format changes and twists
- 2.1 Regional versions
- 2.2 Multiple areas and houses
- 2.3 Evil Big Brother
- 2.4 Twin or triplet housemates
- 2.5 Secret missions
- 2.6 Opening night twists
- 2.7 Fake evictions
- 2.8 Twists involving multi-franchises
- 2.9 Others
- 3 Special editions
- 4 Versions
- 5 Controversies
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Bibliography
The idea for Big Brother is said to have come during a brainstorming session at the Dutch-based international Italian television production firm Endemol on 10 March 1997. The first version of Big Brother was broadcast in 1999 on Veronica in the Netherlands. Since then the format has become a worldwide TV franchise, airing in many countries in a number of versions.
Although each country has made its own adaptations of the format, the contestants are confined to a specially-designed house where their every action is recorded by cameras and microphones and they are not permitted contact with the outside world. In most countries that have produced Big Brother, the contestants have been known as "housemates"; however in the American and Canadian version they are referred to as "houseguests". The term Big Brother originates from George Orwell's novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Besides living together under continuous observation—which is the chief attraction of the contest, the program relies on four basic props: (1) the stripped-bare back-to-basics environment in which they live, (2) the evictions, (3) the weekly tasks and competitions set by Big Brother and (4) the "Diary or Confession Room" where housemates convey their thoughts, feelings, and frustrations, and reveal their nominees for eviction. Contestants are required to evict one of their own on a regular basis; in the earlier series of Big Brother, contestants were evicted every two weeks. However, the UK version introduced weekly evictions; almost all versions of Big Brother now follow this format.
At regular intervals, the housemates privately nominate a number of fellow housemates whom they wish get evicted from the house. In lot of seasons, however, housemates regularly make their nominations in front of everybody. The housemates with the most nominations are then announced, and viewers are given the opportunity to vote via telephone for whom they wish to see evicted. Some more recent editions have since included more methods of voting, such as voting through social media and smartphone applications. The exceptions to this process are in the American and Canadian versions, in which the housemates vote to evict each other. After the votes are tallied, the "evictee" leaves the house and is interviewed by the host of the show. In some cases, two housemates may be evicted simultaneously (a "double eviction"); rarely, no housemates will be removed that week. At the end of the game, the last remaining housemate is declared the winner for the particular series and receives prizes (often including a large amount of money, a car, a vacation and—in some editions—a house).
In the first season of most series of Big Brother, the house was very basic. Although essential amenities such as running water, furniture and a limited ration of food were provided, luxury items were often forbidden. This added a survivalist element to the show, increasing the potential for social tension. Nearly all later series provide a modern house for the contest with a jacuzzi, sauna, VIP suite, loft, and other luxuries.
The contestants are required to do housework, and are assigned tasks by the producers of the show (who communicate with the housemates via the omnipresent authority figure known to them only as "Big Brother"). The tasks are designed to test their teamwork abilities and community spirit; in some countries, the housemates' shopping budget or weekly allowance depends on the outcome of assigned tasks. The housemates have a weekly allowance, with which they can buy food and other essentials.
Most international versions of the show remain quite similar to each other; their main format remains true to the original fly on the wall observational style with the emphasis on human relationships, to the extent that contestants are forbidden from discussing nominations or voting strategy. Since 2001 the US version adopted a different format from the others during its second season, where the contestants are encouraged to strategise to advance in the game. In this formats the contestants themselves vote to evict each other. In 2011, the UK version controversially adapted the discussion of nominations before reverting this rule back after a poll by Big Brother broadcaster Channel 5.
From a sociological and demographic perspective, Big Brother allows an analysis of how people react when forced into close confinement with people outside their comfort zone (with different opinions or ideals, or from a different socioeconomic group). The viewer has the opportunity to see how a person reacts from the outside (through the constant recording of their actions) and the inside (in the Diary or Confession Room). The Diary Room (more commonly known as the DR) is where contestants can privately express their feelings about the game, strategy and the other contestants. The results range from violent or angry confrontations to genuine and tender connections (often including romantic interludes).
The show is notable for involving the Internet. Although the show typically broadcasts daily updates during the evening (sometimes criticized for heavy editing by producers from viewers and former contestants alike), viewers can also watch a continuous feed from multiple cameras on the Web in most countries. These websites were successful, even after some national series began charging for access to the video stream. In some countries, Internet broadcasting was supplemented by updates via email, WAP and SMS. The house is shown live on satellite television, although in some countries there is a 10–15 minute delay to allow libelous or unacceptable content (such as references to people not participating in the program who have not consented to have personal information broadcast) to be removed.
Contestants occasionally develop sexual relationships; the level of sexual explicitness allowed to be shown in broadcast and Internet-feed vary on the country's broadcasting standards.
Big Brother contestants are isolated in the house, without access to television, radio or the Internet; they are not permitted routine communication with the outside world. This was an important issue for most earlier series of the show. In more-recent series, contestants are occasionally allowed to view televised events (usually as a reward for winning at a task). In most versions of the program books and writing materials are also forbidden, although exceptions are sometimes made for religious materials such as the Bible, Tanakh or the Qur'an. Some versions ban all writing implements, even items that can be used to write (such as lipstick or eyeliner). Despite the housemates' isolation, some contestants are occasionally allowed to leave the house as part of tasks. Contestants are permitted to leave the house in an emergency.
Contestants have regularly-scheduled interactions with the show's host on eviction nights. Throughout each day the program's producer, in the "Big Brother" voice, issues directives and commands to contestants. Some versions of the show allow private counseling sessions with a psychologist. These are allowed at any time, and are often conducted by telephone from the Diary Room.
Format changes and twists
Due to the intelligibility of certain languages across several nations, it has been possible to make regional versions of Big Brother. All these follow the normal Big Brother rules, except that contestants must come from each of the countries in the region where it airs: Big Brother Africa of Africa (includes Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), Big Brother: الرئيس of the Middle East (includes Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, and Tunisia), Gran Hermano of South America (includes Chile, Ecuador, and Peru), Big Brother of Scandinavia (includes Norway and Sweden), and Veliki brat of the Balkans (includes Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia). The British version of the show accepts Irish applicants and was available between 2000 and 2010 as Channel 4 was available, as of 2015 the show returned to Irish screens as TV3 bought the rights from UK broadcaster Channel 5 to air the show.
Multiple areas and houses
In 2001, Big Brother 3 of the Netherlands introduced "Rich and Poor" concept, wherein the house is separated into a luxurious half and a poor half and two teams of housemates fight for a place in the luxurious half. The Dutch version continued this concept until its fourth season. Other versions later followed and introduced a similar concept, of which some have their own twists: Africa (in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), Albania (in 2010), Australia (in 2003 and 2013), Balkan States (in VIP 2010 and 2011), Brazil (in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014), Canada (2013–present), Denmark (in 2003), Finland (in 2009 and 2014), Germany (in 2003, 2004–2005, 2005–2006, 2008 and 2008–2009), Greece (in 2003), India (in 2012 and 2013), Israel (in 2009), Italy (in 2006 and 2007), Norway (in 2003), Philippines (in 2009, Teen 2010 and 2011), Poland (in 2002), Portugal (in VIP 2013), Slovakia (in 2005), Slovenia (in 2008), Scandinavia (in 2005), South Africa (in 2014), Spain (in VIP 2004, 2008, 2009–2010 and 2010), United Kingdom (in 2002, Celebrity 2007, 2008 and Celebrity 2013), and United States (in 2009–present).
In 2011-2012 (GH7), the Argentinian edition added "La Casa de al Lado" ("The House Next Door"), a smaller, more luxurious house which served multiple functions. The first week it hosted 4 potential housemates, and the public voted for two of them to enter the main house. The second week, two pairs of twins competed in the same fashion, with only one pair allowed in. Later, the 3rd, 4th and 5th evicted contestants were given the choice of staying on their way out, and they competed for the public's vote to reenter the house. Months later, after one of the contestants left the house voluntarily, the House Next Door reopened for four contestants who wanted to reenter and had not been in such playoff before. The House Next Door was also used in other occasions to allow contestants from the main house for limited periods of time, especially to have some more privacy (which of course could be seen by the public).
Evil Big Brother
In 2004, the fifth series of the UK version introduced an evil Big Brother. Big Brother becomes villainous with harsher punishments, such as taking away prize money, more difficult tasks and secret tricks. This concept has also been used in Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, South America, Scandinavia, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, the Philippines, and Mexico.
Twin or triplet housemates
In 2004, the Big Brother 5 of the US version introduced twins Adria & Natalie Montgomery-Klein. They were tasked to switch back and forth in the house. If they successfully changed places numerous times for five weeks without being caught, they could play the game as individual houseguests. This twist was used again in 2015 during Big Brother 17 following slightly different rules: If they successfully changed places numerous times for five weeks without being evicted, they could play the game as individual houseguests. The twins were discovered after the first two weeks, but were not evicted before being able to play as individuals.
This twin/triplet twist was used in several countries. Some made modifications in this said twist; others have had twins in the house together without this element of secrecy. The following are the countries that have featured twins or triplets: Australia (in 2005), Germany (in 2005-2006), Bulgaria (in 2006 and 2012), United Kingdom (in 2007, Celebrity 2011, Celebrity 2012, 2013 and 2015), France (in 2007, 2011 and 2013), Spain (in 2007 and 2013), Poland (in 2007), India (in 2008), Africa (in 2009), Balkan Region (in 2009, 2013), Philippines (in 2009, Teen 2012 and 2014), Portugal (in 2010 and 2012), Israel (in 2011), Ukraine (in 2011), Argentina (in 2011), and Albania (in 2013).
Secret missions are a common element of the show since its introduction during the sixth UK series. During these secrets one or more housemates are set a task from Big Brother with the reward of luxuries for the household and/or as personal reward if the task is successful. Some versions of Big Brother have secret tasks presented by another character who lives in plain sight of the housemate. Such characters include Marsha the Moose (from BB Canada) and Surly the Fish (from BB Australia).
The U.S. version of Season 8 (2007) introduced "America's Player", where a selected houseguest must complete various tasks (determined by public vote) in secret for the duration of his stay in the house in exchange for a cash reward . It was repeated in U.S. Season 10 (Summer 2008) for a week. Season 16 (2014) featured "Team America", in which 3 houseguests were selected to work as a team to complete tasks (again determined by public voting) for a cash reward. This continued for the entire season despite the eviction of a member.
Opening night twists
Since Big Brother 2, the UK series opens with a twist. This has included the public choosing the final housemate from three possibilities (Big Brother 2); public voting for a housemate to leave during the first week and the housemates choosing between two housemates with the least number of votes (Big Brother 3); first-night nominations (Big Brother 4); suitcase nominations (Big Brother 5); Unlucky Housemate 13 (Big Brother 6); Big Brother Hood (Big Brother 7); an all-female house and a set of twins as contestants (Big Brother 8); a couple entering as housemates, who must hide their relationship (Big Brother 9); housemates having to earn housemate status (Big Brother 10); a mole entering the house with an impossible task (Big Brother 11); Jackie Stallone entering a house containing her son's ex-wife (Celebrity Big Brother 3); a non-celebrity in a celebrity edition (Celebrity Big Brother 4) and a visit from Jade Goody's family (Celebrity Big Brother 5). During Celebrity Big Brother 6 La Toya Jackson entered first, walked straight into a private bedroom (the bedrooms are usually locked until everyone has arrived) and put her bag on the bed to claim it as her own. Terry Christian became head of the house which was used at the end of the previous non-celebrity series and had to nominate three housemates for the first eviction; the others voted to save one of the nominees, Ben Adams, leaving Lucy Pinder and eventual winner Ulrika Jonsson to face the first eviction. In the summer series of 2009 the house was empty at first, with only crates to sit on. The new arrivals had to earn housemate status by completing tasks; Noirin Kelly was required to shave off her hair and draw a mustache and glasses on her face. Freddie Fisher and eventual winner Sophie Reade had to change their names by deed poll to Halfwit and Dogface. On day four, the six people who had not received housemate status were nominated for a public vote. The person with the fewest votes (Beinazir Lasharie) left, and the house was transformed into a "Big Brother" house. Other countries, such as Bulgaria, the United States and (previously) Australia, have also begun using opening-night twists.
As common opening twist is to only introduce a single sex cast on the premiere of the show while having members of the other sex introduced over the next few days. The eighth UK series first used this twist with an initial all-female house. However, two days later one male housemate arrived. The same twist was used in Bulgaria (BB4). Africa (BBA4) used a similar twist, with an all-male premiere.
The fifth UK edition introduced fake evictions, where one or two housemates are "evicted". In the eighth UK Series one housemate was evicted, interviewed and sent back into the house.
In the fifth Philippine edition, four housemates (Daniel, Manolo, Jane and Vickie) were fake evicted and stayed in a place called bodega.
In Big Brother Australia 2013 Benjamin 'Ben' Zabel was "fake" evicted on Day 50. He was removed and put into the house's presidential suite, where he spent 24 hours without the other housemates knowing he was still in the house. He had immunity from eviction that week. After his 24 hours, Ben returned to the house. In Big Brother Australia 2014 Travis Lunardi was "fake" evicted and Ben who was fake evicted from the previous edition joined him for 24 hours to give him some advice. Travis returned after 3 days total in the Sanctuary — a small private house with a pool and some amenities. Like Ben from his fake eviction, Travis had immunity from eviction that week.
Twists involving multi-franchises
In 2002, Mexico (BBM1) and the Spain (GH3) temporarily made housemate exchanges. Mexico's Eduardo Orozco swapped with Spain's Andrés Barreiro in 7 days. In 2010, the first 2-housemates exchange was held in Spain and Italy. Gerardo Prager and Saray Pereira from GH11 of Spain was swapped with Carmela Gualtieri and Massimo Scattarella of GF10 of Italy for 7 days.
In later years, several housemate exchanges were done around the world: Argentina (GH3) and Spain (GH4), Ecuador (GH1) and Mexico (BBM2), and Africa (BBA1) and United Kingdom (BB4) in 2003; Scandinavia (BB2) and Thailand (BBT2) in 2006; Philippines (PBB2) and Slovenia (BB1), and Argentina (GH5) and Spain (GH9) in 2007; Africa (BBA3) and Finland (BB4) in 2008; Finland (BB5) and Philippines (PBB3) in 2009; Finland (BB6) and Slovenia (BBS1) in 2010; Spain (GH12) and Israel (HH3) in 2010 to 2011; Finland (BB7) and Norway (BB4) in 2011; and Argentina (GH7) and Israel (HH4) in 2012.
Evicted housemate exchanges
In 2003, Mexico's Isabel Madow (BB VIP2) and Spain's Aída Nízar (GH5) was swapped for 7 days. This twist was also done between Russia (BBR1) and Pacific (GHP1) in 2005; and Argentina (GH4) and Brazil (BBB7) in 2007.
Evicted housemate visits
Anouska Golebiewski, an evicted housemate from United Kingdom (housemate from BB4) visited Australia (BB3) in 2003. In 2005, United Kingdom (Nadia Almada of BB5) visited Australia (BB5) again. In 2006, United Kingdom (Chantelle Houghton of CBB4) visited Germany (BBG6). This twist was copied in later years by various other countries: Africa (Ricardo Ferreira of BBA3) visited Brazil (BBB9) in 2009; Germany (Annina Ucatis and Sascha Schwan of BBG9) visited the Philippines (PBB3) in 2010, and Italy (George Leonard and Veronica Ciardi of GF10) visited Albania (BB3) in 2010; Sweden (Martin Granetoft and Peter OrrmyrSara Jonsson of BB5) visited Norway (BB4) in 2011; Brazil (Rafael Cordeiro of BBB12) visited Spain (GH12), and Argentina (Agustín Belforte of GH4) visited Colombia (GH2) in 2012; United States (Dan Gheesling of BB10/BB14) visited Canada (BB1 and the BB2 Jury) in 2013; and Canada (Emmett Blois of BB1) visited South Africa (BBM3).
A similar event took place between the United States and Canada in 2014 wherein Rachel Reilly (from BB12/BB13) made a video chat to Canada (BB2). Rachel Reilly also appeared on Big Brother Canada's side show, which airs after the eviction episode once a week.
Housemates competing in another country
There were times that a former housemate from his franchise participated and competed in another foreign franchise: Daniela Martins of France (SS3) competed in Portugal (SS1); Daniel Mkongo of France (SS5) competed in Italy (GF12); Brigitte Nielsen of Denmark (BB VIP) competed in the United Kingdom (CBB3); Jade Goody of the United Kingdom (BB3, BB Panto, and CCB5) competed in India (BB2); Sava Radović of Germany (BB4) competed in the Balkan States (VB1); Nikola Nasteski of the Balkan States (VB4) competed in Bulgaria (BB All-Stars 1); Žarko Stojanović of France (SS5) competed in the Balkan States (VB VIP5); Željko Stojanović of France (SS5) competed in the Balkan States (VB VIP5); Kelly Baron of Brazil (BBB13) competed in Portugal (BB VIP); Lucy Diakovska of Bulgaria (VIP B4) competed in Germany (PBB1); and Leila Ben Khalifa of Italy (GF6) competed in France (SS8).
- Task visits: Cathrine Petersen and Henrik Andreassen of Denmark's BB4 and Patricia Andersen and Umar Nyonyintono of Sweden's BB6 visited each country's Big Brother Houses for 7 days in 2012.
- Kidnapping: Annica Englund of Sweden's BB6 was kidnapped by Denmark's BB4 for 7 days in 2012.
- Current-to-evicted housemate exchange: Evicted Laisa Portella of Brazil (housemate from BBB12) was exchanged with Non-Evicted Noemí Merino of Spain's GH13 in 2012. Portella stayed in the Spanish Big Brother House for 7 days, while Merino stayed in the Brazilian Big Brother house for 5 days.
- Casting selection exchange: Doroti Polito and Leonia Coccia of Italy's GF9 visited Spain's GH10 in 2009.
- Red Button: Gran Hermano Argentina Series 7 (GH7) incorporated a red button in the Confession Room, encased in a transparent box. This button was to be used when a contestant wanted to leave the house voluntarily, and it would fire an alarm in the whole house. When the alarm sound ceased, the contestant would be given five minutes to leave the house. This button is also used in Secret Story series, however in this case whoever presses the button will try to guess someone's secret. There is also an alarm in the whole house.
- Telephone: Gran Hermano Argentina Series 4 (GH4) added a telephone in the living room. This telephone rang once a week for ten seconds, and if nobody picked up the call, the full house would be nominated for eviction. The first person to pick up the receiver was given an order or news from Big Brother, either to their benefit or against them. If an order was refused, they would be nominated for eviction.
Eurovision Song Contest
|Team and Song||Jury's points||Dates||Winner|
|GH12: "A-Ba-Ni-Bi"||12||12||12||36||30 Dec 2010 to 4 Jan 2011||5 Jan 2011||6 Jan 2011||7 Jan 2011||8 Jan 2011||GH12|
FIFA World Cup
| BB10 Germany
BB11 United Kingdom
|A screening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup (Round of 16) Germany vs. England game||After five penalties, the score was 1–1 and the game went to sudden death. After 36 penalties, German housemate Robert shot the ball wide and UK housemate Ife scored, winning 2–1.||BB11||26 June 2010|
In Germany, a new sixth-season version of the show was Big Brother - Das Dorf (Big Brother - The Village). The season ended after 363 days in February 2006 because of low ratings. For season seven, RTL II switched back to a traditional version. The fourth Greek season introduced a mother. During the tenth week of the seventh UK season, the housemates were paired with their "best friend" in the house and had to nominate and face eviction as couples. The ninth American season added a romantic aspect by pairing up the housemates up and having them compete as couples.
The ninth Brazilian season featured the "Bubble": a glass house in a shopping mall in Rio de Janeiro where four potential housemates lived for a week. Later in the season a bubble was built inside the Big Brother house, with another two housemates living in it for a week until they were voted in and the glass house dismantled. The Glass House later was reused in the eleven season, featuring five evicted housemates competing for a chance to join the house again and in thirteen Brazilian season, with six potential housemates competing for two places in the main house.
A familiar twist occurred in the second celebrity edition of the Philippine version, where two housemates related by profession or family played as one. Also in the Philippine version, the second season of the teen edition, also featured the parents/guardians of the teens that are staying in the house. The parents had their own living quarters and were considered as housemates. If a teen housemate was evicted, the coinciding parent/guardian would also be evicted. In Celebrity Hijack UK evicted housemates were given the opportunity to choose if a "ninja" delivered good or bad gifts to the house. Later that year Big Brother Australia 2008 introduced the Housemate Hand Grenade, where an evicted housemate decided which housemate received a penalty. Big Brother 5 of Bulgaria, which began in early 2010, introduced a new family format (Big Brother Family). Whole families entered the house with their spouses, children and relatives. They received a salary for their stay and the winning family received a cash prize, a car and an apartment. The eleventh American season featured Pandora's Box, in which the winning head of household was tempted (with money, a celebrity visit or time alone with a loved one) to open a box. If an HoH chooses to open Pandora's Box, however, there may be unintended consequences.
The twelfth American season featured a saboteur, who entered the house to wreak havoc with tasks suggested by viewers. Big Brother Africa 6 in 2011 was the first season of Big Brother to have two winners, each getting $200,000. The thirteenth American season introduced Dynamic Duos, where eight new houseguests would enter the house with three duos from past seasons. The fourth Philippine season featured Unli-Day and Unli-Night, where two separate groups of housemates were covered in two separate programs. It also introduced reserved housemates, shortlisted auditioners who were given a chance to be a housemate by completing tasks assigned by Big Brother (this was also done in Argentina's seventh season). The Philippine version introduced the 100-second session, in which housemates are given a chance to be with their loved ones for only 100 seconds in the Confession Room. The fourteenth American season had four houseguests from past seasons returning to the house to coach twelve new houseguests. The four returning houseguests played their own game for a separate prize of $100,000 until they joined the normal game later after a reset twist. The fifteenth American season Introduced the Big Brother M.V.P twist where every week, the viewers would vote one of the houseguests who the viewers thought was playing the best game, also introduced three nominations in the US version where the HOH would nominate the first two houseguests for eviction (like in previous seasons) while the 3rd nomination is made by the M.V.P of that week in a further twist for the M.V.P, the viewers decided who the 3rd nominee would be for the week, half way into the season the M.V.P twist ended and the show continued on with just 2 nominees a week as in previous seasons.
In the fourteenth Brazilian season, 7 mothers and 2 aunts, relatives of the 9 remaining housemates, entered the Big Brother Brasil house to celebrate International Women's Day. The housemates could not see or touch their relatives because the house was divided by a wall. An improvised house was assembled for the mothers and aunts. They stayed in the house for 6 days.
The sixteenth American season and the seventeenth American season featured two Heads of Household every week and had four HouseGuests nominated for eviction. While, in previous seasons, the HoH was guaranteed immunity until the next eviction, this was not the case due to a new competition called "Battle of the Block," in which the two sets of nominees compete to save themselves. The winning pair of nominees were removed from the block while dethroning the HoH who nominated them; while the Battle of the Block winners were ineligible to be named as a replacement nominee if the Veto was used, the dethroned HoH was not.
Another new twist introduced in the sixteenth American season was "Team America:" an alliance of three HouseGuests selected by the voting public tasked with completing secret missions; each member received $5000 per each successfully completed mission.
Celebrity and VIP Big Brother
The Big Brother format has been adapted in some countries; the housemates are local celebrities, and the shows are called Celebrity Big Brother or Big Brother VIP. In some countries, the prize money normally awarded to the winning housemate is donated to a charity, and all celebrities are paid to appear in the show as long as they do not voluntarily leave before their eviction or the end of the series. The rest of the rules are nearly the same as those of the original version. The celebrity version has become particularly popular in the UK, causing UK broadcaster Channel 5 to extend its deal with Endemol enabling them to air two celebrity series in addition to the civilian version every year from 2012, again in 2013 and again in 2014, with the first of the two series having already aired this year (the first being in January and the second after the main series in the summer). In Bulgaria, VIP Brother has replaced the original format of the show and more seasons of the celebrity edition have been produced compared to the regular one. Due to the show's popularity there, it lasts for two months unlike most countries where it only airs for a month.
The 2006 Netherlands series was entitled Hotel Big Brother. This variation introduced a group of celebrity hoteliers and a Big Boss, who run a hotel and collect money for charity without nominations, evictions or a winner.
Another variation appeared in the UK in early 2008, entitled Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack. This temporarily replaced the 2007 Celebrity Big Brother in the wake of a racial-abuse incident. Instead of celebrities playing housemates the celebrities became Big Brother himself, creating tasks and holding nominations with the help of Big Brother. The housemates were considered by the producers "Britain's most exceptional and extraordinary" 18- to 21-year-olds. The prize for the winner of the series was £50,000.
In 2009 VIP Brother 3 Bulgaria introduced the concept of celebrities competing for charitable causes, sometimes allowed to leave the house to raise money for the charity (which changed each week).
US and English Canadian version
The United States' and Canada's version of Big Brother is different from most versions of the series. The American series began in 2000 with a format much similar to the international format, however, due to poor ratings and the strong popularity of Survivor, beginning in the second season, a more gameplay-oriented format was implemented where the contestants are encouraged to strategize and form alliances with others to avoid weekily eviction and improve their chance at winning. For this new format, a group of 12 to 16 contestants, known as "houseguests," compete to win the series by voting each other off and being the last houseguest remaining. One houseguest, known as the Head of Household (HoH), must nominate two of their fellow houseguests for eviction. The winner of the Power of Veto (PoV, introduced in the 3rd American season) has the option to save one of the nominees for eviction, forcing the HoH to nominate another houseguest in his or her place. The houseguests then vote to evict one of the nominees, and the houseguest with the most votes is evicted. When only two houseguests remain, the most recently evicted houseguests (generally 7) form The Jury and decide which of the two remaining houseguests would win the grand prize.
In 2013, English-speaking Canada began its own version based on the US version, but the viewing audience are given more control of the game. Secret tasks were also introduced and are usually presented by the show's mascot "Marsha the Moose" . These two elements cause fans of the show to call it a hybrid of the U.S edition and the U.K/international editions.
Elements of this format (such as having one contestant winning the position of or similar to Head of Household or allowing contestants to talk and strategize about the nomination/eviction process) have been adapted in other editions of the show, notably the French Canadian version, where the format was followed almost exactly, but the public could evict a housemate on some occasions, and eventually decided the winner in the end.
The Big Brother format has been otherwise modified in some countries:
- Big Brother: All-Stars (Belgium, 21 days; Bulgaria: Season 1–3, 27–29 days; United States, 72 days; United Kingdom, 18 days; Canada, 64 days; Africa, 91 days; Spain, 56 days; Portugal Secret Story: Season 1–4, 22–50 days): Previous housemates from previous seasons compete. Belgium was the first country to have an All-Stars season (2003). UK was the first country to have 2 All-Stars season (2010). Bulgaria was the first country to have 3 All-Stars season (2014). Portugal was the first country to have 4 All-Stars season (2015)
- Big Brother: Reality All-Stars (Sweden, 6 days; Denmark, 32 days; Spain, 56 days): Contestants from different reality shows, including Big Brother, compete.
- Big Brother: You Decide / Big Brother: Back in the House / Big Brother: Try Out (Poland: Season 1–2, 7–13 days; Norway, 9 days; Serbia, 7 days): Housemates, new or old, compete for a spot in the next regular season without nominations or evictions.
- Teen Big Brother (United Kingdom, 10 days; Philippines: Season 1–4, 42–91 days): Teen aged 13 and older compete.
- Big Brother: All In (Philippines, 120 days): A mix of Teenagers, regular adults, and celebrities compete in one season.
- Big Brother Panto (United Kingdom, 11 days): Housemates from previous series spent time in the Big Brother House to perform a pantomime at the series' end.
There are also "test runs", with a group of celebrities (or journalists) living in the house for several days to test it. There are occasions where people who have auditioned for the show are also put in the house, most notably in the British edition, where many housemates claim to have met before. These series have been televised in Argentina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, the Pacific region, the Philippines, and Spain. In some cases, it is not broadcast, but in others, such as the U.S. edition, it is used as a promotional tool.
Through 30 September 2015, Big Brother has produced 355 winners in over 54 franchises. The most recent winner Francisco Delgado from Argentina.
- Currently airing
- An upcoming season
- Status unknown
- No longer airing
In April 2000, Castaway, an independent production company, filed a lawsuit against John de Mol and Endemol for stealing the concepts of their own show called Survive!, a reality television show where contestants are placed in a deserted island and will have to take care of themselves alone. These contestants were also filmed by cameras around them. The court later dismissed the lawsuit filed by Castaway against de Mol and Endemol. The Survive! reality television format was later turned into Survivor.
Accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior
There have been two documented occurrences of possible rape happening during the show, much to the horror of viewers. In Big Brother South Africa a male housemate was accused of assaulting a fellow housemate while she was asleep. The pair were filmed kissing and cuddling in bed before the cameras moved away and the male housemate reportedly claimed to housemates the next day that he had intercourse with the contestant. However, the female housemate was apparently shocked by the claims and informed female housemates that she had not consented to having sex with him. (Under South African law, this act would be constituted as rape.) This male housemate was expelled immediately after the allegations surfaced, while the female housemate was removed from the house for her own protection and counselling . In Big Brother Brazil, many viewers reported that they watched a male housemate allegedly force himself on a female housemate while she was passed out drunk after a "boozy party." As a result, the male housemate was later escorted out of the Big Brother house by the police.
- UK Channel 5 Web site, with many references to "BB"
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- es:Anexo:Cuarta temporada de Gran Hermano (Argentina)#Cambios en el Juego
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- Due to the car accident that killed three former housemates, Elmir Kuduzović, Stevan Zečević and Zorica Lazić, the producer decided to discontinue the series. The winning prize was divided by the surviving housemates.
- This version was only produced in Serbia.
- On August 31, 2009, TQS changed its name to V.
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- Co-produced version with Denmark and Norway taking part.
- Co-produced version with Norway and Sweden taking part.
- Global Reality Channel
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