The Big Brother Archive


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Everything You've Always Wanted to Know, and asked...
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Reality TV Fans
FAQ:  Frequently Asked Questions (and my opinions)

Why can't they get better people to be on the show?   [TOP]
Consider their choices: 1. Who would want to be on the show? 2. Who could get the time off from work to go on the show?  3. Who can pass all the tests to be on the show?  So first, anyone that would want to be on the show has to be motivated by more than money.  Although everyone on the show would like to win the prize, most contestants are realistic enough to know their chance of winning is not very good.  This leaves people that are seeking something else: fame,  a show-business career, just to feed an ego, or someone that just wants to prove something to themselves.  Very few people can just take off thirteen weeks to be on a TV show, and the person has to be able to make these arrangements with very little notice.  Then from the group left, you're going to have a lot of unemployed mental defectives.  These people are weeded out by drug tests and background checks.  The producers started with thousands of applicants, and ended up with only fifty possible people.  Lisa said she was recruited late because someone backed out at the last minute.  With all these requirements, you end up with people that already have agents, and don't really represent an average cross-section of America.  Everyone says they'd go on the show, if.  I've caught myself, saying;  "sure I'd go on the show, if: I was younger, better looking, more self controlled..."  But if I was younger, better looking, more self controlled, I'd be Eric, and they already had one of those (and they kicked him out before Josh).

How do you manage to cover the show?   [TOP]
To start with, I work at home.  I put my sound card on a little FM transmitter like you use to play a CD player on a car radio.  This way I can listen to what's going on in the BB house, all through my house.  The worst part are all the FotHs that they do.  When they cut-away, they play the BB theme music in a loop.  It is the most nauseating sound in the world.  In the ninth week they started replacing the theme music with a beep tone that was so loud my neighbors thought my smoke detector was going off. Next year they need to get some peaceful quiet meditation music for the FotH, instead of a sound that makes all the dogs on my street howl. Oh, yeah, you need one more thing.  The feeds time-out after 30 minutes.  You need a re-loader.  BB5 Reloader from Joker's Updates works well for me. BB5 Live Feed RealPlayer Url's:

Why do you cover the show? Do you make money from this?    [TOP] 

Beats me.  I'm following it for myself, why not share it with you...   I really don't make anything, in fact it costs me money in bandwidth.  I only get paid by the banner ad sponsors if you buy something from them.  If you appreciate my effort, you can make a donation to my tip jar. You can give as little as a dollar, the donations go through PayPal.

Why is there so many FotH cut-aways?   [TOP]
It's not just to torment us, but I really wish the guy that throws the switch had to listen to the music or beep that we hear.   The HGs are prone to singing and humming.  CBS can not broadcast any music.  Why? This is going on live, they guy on the switch is a technician not a lawyer.  His instructions are: "if in doubt, cut it out."  Even if they had a lawyer sitting next to him, if a HG started to sing something they made-up themselves, a lawyer would have to check to see if it's an obscure song, or something published and copyrighted. There's no time for research when it's live.   It's not even a matter of CBS being cheap.  If a HG sang a song owned by an individual, once the song is broadcast, even by internet, they could be forced to pay whatever the owner insists on, so if in doubt, cut it out.  Other material blocked out are negative references to people outside the house.  If a HG were to say, "John Doe" is a pedophile," John Doe could sue both the HG and CBS for slander.  To preserve the integrity of the show, the HGs are not supposed to discuss the BB staff, or discuss what's been said in the DR.  Of course they block out a lot of the competitions so you'll watch the TV, but we always know the results because the HGs talk about the games and the results.  It's easy to paste together a pretty good picture of what happened.

Does Big Brother make up the rules as they go along?   [TOP]
Nope, it's all written out in advance.  And except for the twists, and details of the challenges, the rules are supplied to the guests in a rule book they spend little effort in studying.  I think the book is kept in the DR. It includes instructions for laundry, feeding the pets, etc..  It's easy for BB to give them this info, because a production assistant has tried, and accomplished every task a contestant is asked to try.  It's most important that they plan things out, the world is watching, live.  They also have the advantage of looking at the experiences in the Big Brother houses in other countries to see their experiences with challenges and ADLs (Activities of Daily Living).

Who is Big Brother?   [TOP]
There's a team of people that comprise the overseer known as "Big Brother." At times there can be as many as 50 people behind those walls. Erika from BB4 started as an AP on BB5.  Here are the ones I know of:
Arnold Shapiro - Producer and Emmy winner.
Allison Grodner - Executive Producer
Amy Bailey
Andrew Frank
Chris Lore  (One of the HG's favorites, "a sharp dresser with good taste," directed the "Dinner Party in Hell" and most of the other stunts in the BB house.)
Don Wollman - Supervising Producer
Jennifer Ehrman
Jesse McDonald
Jerry (Not really a BB, is in charge of house safety)
Jim (Directed Escape from BB House in BB4)
Jon Kroll - Co-Executive Producer
John Lincoln Kennamann
Kelly Wood ("She's a cute small girl w/ glasses")
Laurie Howarter
Neil (came up with the idea of them playing "human bowling" in BB3)
Nick Clark
Ralph (Ralph told Alison on BB4 he was the mime, but we think he was teasing)
Robyn Kass  (A BB and Casting director, also works on Survivor)
Shannon Keenan - Yet another producer.
Terry Donohue - Director
Tom (might have been new for BB4)

Allison and Arnold are not in the house eight hours a day.  They are office type executives, that do stop in daily and take a hands-on approach to their production.  Except for Kent Blackwelder, you'd be hard-pressed to find a former houseguest with something bad to say about them. 

You shouldn't Include or Should Warn about Spoilers   [TOP]
I did on BB2.  You had to click on links to find our who won HoH and stuff.  Less than 1% of my visitors choose not to click.  I felt that 1% were probably people who ended up on the page by mistake. If you search for my page, you most-likely wanted to know.

Why is Julie Chen on the Show?   [TOP]
[a] She has pictures of Arnold Shapiro with farm animals.
[b] Arnold Shapiro has pictures of her with farm animals.
[c] She may be incompetent, but she has a hot little body.
[d] Geraldo Rivera was out of the country
[e] Jerry Springer turned it down, said it was beneath him.
Actually it's none of the above.  Their line of thinking was that they wanted a journalist to do the exit interviews.  They couldn't use any of the news anchors or "60 Minutes" people on an entertainment show, so they recruited Julie Chen.  They felt it would be a good tie-in to "The Early Show" where evicted houseguests would be interviewed again the next day, a practice they didn't bother with in BB3 because the first four evictees were sequestered out of the country.  One good thing about Julie Chen's Early Show" interviews, she knew what was going on.  When the guests in BB1 would go on Letterman, he had no idea what taken place in the BB house.  

Does CBS mind you telling us so much?
Yes and no.  It's a double edged sword.  They want the publicity my site generates, but they wish they could keep secrets from us. I think I'm pretty kind in my editorial remarks.  I feel that anyone that cares enough about Big Brother to read my site, would never miss a broadcast, regardless of what they already know.  CBS could of course, do more live challenges, but they'd need a better host, and easier games.

Your coverage is biased, should you be impartial?   [TOP]
No.  I've been doing this a long time.  I get a kick out of writing, and I never take my role seriously enough to consider TV coverage journalism.  In BB1, I routed for Cassandra and Eddie, in BB2 I routed for Hardy, and switched my alliance to Will because he cracked me up. In BB3 I started out routing for Danielle, Roddy and Jason, I dumped Roddy when his manipulations became too obvious, and Danielle got too pushy, then  I started to appreciate Lisa, for the beautiful person she is. For me, it wouldn't be fun to go to the game if I wasn't allowed to root for my team.  You should also realize that I leave a lot of stuff out.  I do miss things, and sometimes what's going on doesn't seem important.  I hope everyone understands that this is a game on a TV show and not a legal deposition.  So basically it's my web site, my opinion.  I don't say things just to make you mad, it's what I believe. I have no obligation to present opposing views, and if you'd like to express your views, get your own web site.

How do you make screen captures from RealPlayer?   [TOP]
First, you need capture software.  I use Gadwin PrintScreen Version 2.0.  It's Freeware, you can download it from here.  Another more sophisticated method is a program called Snag-It from TechSmith you can download Snag-It here.  TechSmith also makes Camtasia  and Dubit, really good tools for capturing and editing.  Snag-It has a 30 day free trial, and is $39.95 after that.  Snag-It will allow you to capture motion from the streaming video and save it as an AVI.  Once you have the software,  open your  RealPlayer, click on "Tools," then on "Preferences," then on  "Hardware" Uncheck Video Optimized.  In some versions of the player you'll see a slide bar, slide it all the way over to the left, "Most Reliable."  You'll need to close and re-start RealPlayer.

The live feeds suck.  Can we do anything?   [TOP]
Yes, they do suck.  Part of the problem is RealPlayer.  Although their format for transmitting media is good, the software is lousy and can do nasty things to your computer.  A reviewer on C-Net compares the results of a RealPlayer installation to a virus.  So what can you do?  Ask for refund.  You may email RealNetworks at Most people don't get replies, so it's better to call the billing department at 1-888-768-3248 (206-674-2650, if the toll-free number does not work for you). Telephone support is available Monday through Friday, 8am - 5pm, Pacific Time; Saturday and Sunday, 7:30am - 4:00pm, Pacific Time.  Ask for your money back, tell them what your problem is.  Your credit card should be credited within 30 days.  If you were satisfied, but subscribed to Real Pass, for $9.99 a month, you'll still want to call and cancel when BB is over.  The $9.99 a month plan will continue being billed to your credit card indefinitely until you cancel. Of course if you want the other for-pay content on RealNetworks, you'll need to keep paying.

All About Audio Clips   [TOP]
I just want to explain a couple thing about the audio clips.  People have ask why I don't have clips of particular moments.  It takes a long time to prepare a clip for the web.  While I'm making one clip, I could be missing something that's better, tough luck.  Some sites give you a long transcript of a conversation, I didn't feel like typing that much, and felt you wouldn't want to scroll trough all that.  This way, you get some of the flavor of the live feeds.  It's really quite different from what you see on TV.

The clips are edited.  Some times there are long pauses in a conversation, or the HGs may interrupt  their own conversations for ADLs.  For instance: They could be in the middle of a really hot conversation when someone will say; "Oh yeah, this is great, I gotta pee, don't say anything until I get back."  so rather than waiting for them to get back, the clip is edited to maintain the flow of the conversation.  I try to cut out the noise of passing airplanes and FotHs.  I have never edited a clip in a way that would change or slant the meaning of a statement.  Some clips may contain related content from two different scenes, these scenes are separated by a musical cue. Sometimes a good conversation is interrupted by a FotH and when we come back,  I add the cue so you know something's missing.

Who are you? Do you work for CBS   [TOP]
I've been writing about TV for over ten years.  I write content for several other web sites.  Most of my time is spent on   I have no affiliation with Big Brother, Our House Productions Inc., Endemol Entertainment USA, Inc., CBS Broadcasting, Viacom or any of it's parent companies or entities. 

How can I get a photo necklace/keychain like I saw on Big Brother 4?   [TOP]
This was a tough question to answer during BB4.  One of my readers, Erika, sent me the answer: 

A and J Designs
PO BOX 362
16060 Ventura Blvd. Ste. 105
Encino, California 91436
PHONE: 818-503-7375
FAX: 818-784-0573

How can I get on the next Big Brother?   [TOP]
Are you an outgoing, intriguing, competitive person who would make the perfect BIG BROTHER HouseGuest? Are you up for anything and everything? Are you ready to live inside the BIG BROTHER House with 11 other strangers while multiple cameras record your every move and sound 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Are you willing to compete for half a million dollars against 11 other people as aggressive and ambitious as you are? If you can answer yes to these questions, you just might qualify as a contestant on BIG BROTHER 6.  CLICK HERE for the BB5 Application.  

Fill out the application, include a video, no more than two minutes long, showing why you think you'd be good on the show, include some snap shots and a headshot. Contestants who will be invited to the semi-finalist interviews in May or June 2004. These interviews will be conducted in approximately twelve locations nationwide and you will be responsible for any travel expenses that you incur.  

Fill out the application, include a video, no more than three minutes long, showing why you think you'd be good on the show, include some snap shots and a headshot. There were also casting calls in malls and at the studio in the past. The mall deals are for publicity, and are only announced locally to the mall. The studio casting call is only listed in the trade papers.  They may or may not look for contestants that way next year.   The details, when made public, will be posted on the Big Brother page of Morty's TV.  None of my information is official.


Mail your application and video to:
Big Brother (Region # )
Box 508
11271 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604

In parenthesis after "Big Brother" on the mailing label, print the region number of the city located closest to your home:

01 - New York City, NY
02 - Pittsburgh, PA
03 - Boston, MA
04 - Atlanta, GA - (not an O & O)
05 - Los Angeles, CA
06 - Denver, CO
07 - Chicago, IL
08 - Memphis, TN
09 - Minneapolis, MN
10 - Dallas, TX
11 - Miami, FL
12 - Seattle, WA

How can I write to Big Brother?   [TOP]
First of all, there's little reason to write.  This is not the proper channel to go through to apply to be on the show.  Suggestions for games or stunts can not be accepted for legal reasons.  If you still have a reason to write, they're at:

Our House Productions
c/o CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Street
Studio City, CA 91604-2190



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