About Big Brother USA*

(For information on the current Big Brother 16 season for 2015, click here.)

The format for Big Brother USA season 1 was radically different than in the following seasons. Season one was identical to international versions of Big Brother in which each HouseGuest would individually go to the Diary Room and nominate two fellow HouseGuests for banishment. (The term “eviction” was not used until season two.) The two or more HouseGuests with the most nominations are then revealed to the House and were “Marked for Banishment”, at which point the public were invited to vote for who they wish to evict by calling a premium rate telephone number. The HouseGuest who received the greatest percentage of the public vote was evicted. When there were three HouseGuests left the public would vote for the winner.

Beginning with the second season of Big Brother USA the HouseGuests compete to become Head of Household or HoH. The Head of Household is responsible for nominating two HouseGuests for eviction. During the Live Eviction show, HouseGuests individually go into the Diary Room (this was taped in early seasons, but beginning with the All-Star season 7, each vote has been done live) and cast their vote to evict. Julie then reveals the results of the vote to the House, and tells the evicted houseguest has only a few moments to leave the house. In the event of a tie a HOH breaks it.When two HouseGuests were left, the evicted HouseGuests voted for the winner and in the event of a tie the public would have broken the tie.

During season three a new power was introduced called the Power of Veto (PoV). The Power of Veto winner can choose to veto one of the Head of Household’s initial nominations. When this happens, the HOH chooses someone else to replace that nominee. The winner is also protected from becoming a replacement nominee for the week.Originally, the Power of Veto was silver and if a nominee won the Power of Veto the nominee could not save themselves. The “Golden” Power of Veto, introduced in the last veto competition in season three, could be won by a nominee and used to save themselves. The Golden Power of Veto is now the standard veto since season four.

The fourth season introduced the Big Brother Jury, sometimes referred to as the “Jury of Seven”. The Jury is made up of the final seven evicted HouseGuests (although the number has fluctuated). As each member of the Jury is evicted from the House they are sequestered in a separate house. The jury members are not allowed to watch the show except for segments which include all of the HouseGuests, for example the nominations and Power of Veto ceremonies. The jury members are not shown any Diary Room interviews or any footage involving strategy or twists to the game. The Big Brother Jury votes to determine the winner of Big Brother each season.

Head of Household (HoH)

After each eviction (except the first week), HouseGuests compete to become the Head of Household. Due to the live show’s time limit, quizzes are normally used for this competition. Games of skill also appear as HoH competitions occasionally, while the endurance contest is only used two to three times a season.

The HoH receives perks such as their own private bedroom, photos or gifts from home, and maid service. The HoH also nominates two HouseGuests for eviction. If one of the nominees is removed via the Power of Veto, the HoH will name a replacement nominee. The HoH reigns until the next eviction in which he or she may not vote except to break a tie. The HouseGuest may not participate in the following HoH competition unless only three HouseGuests are remaining or on special occasions, the rare Coup D’etat is used. IN this event the HoH is also able to compete in the next HoH competition, because they have been considered ‘overthrown’. The Coup D’État has only been used once and only ever in the game twice.

The final HoH competition occurs when only three HouseGuests remain. The competition is held in three parts. For the first stage, the HouseGuests compete in an endurance contest requiring the HouseGuests to hang on to their keys in the face of some unusual circumstance. The second stage is commonly a game of skill between the losers of the previous stage. The winners of first and second stage face off in a quiz where the participants must guess what departed HouseGuests thought. The winner of the third stage becomes the last HoH while the two other HouseGuests are automatically nominated. As none of the trio are eligible to vote, the last HoH breaks the 0-0 tie and chooses who to evict.

Although one HouseGuest normally retains the Head of Household rewards and responsibilities for the week, exceptions have occurred. In a “double eviction” week, the first HoH only reigns for a short period (between an hour and three days) while the second HoH reigns for the rest of the week. When this occurs, the first HoH is normally not provided the benefits such as use of the HoH bedroom. Another exception is when two HouseGuests share Head of Household, such as in the first week of Big Brother: All-Stars as well as the first few weeks of Big Brother 9. The co-HoHs had to agree on two nominees or else become the nominees themselves and lose their HoH privileges. If a tie were to occur when there were co-HoHs, then the Power of Veto winner would have to cast the tie-breaking vote.

The HoH has been adopted by some other countries with different rules, including the African, Australian, Brazilian, and the United Kingdom version.

Power of Veto (PoV)

Each week after the Head of Household has announced the week’s nominees the six HouseGuests (the nominated contestants, the current HoH, and three other housemates, if possible) compete for the Golden Power of Veto. The winner of the Golden Power of Veto can choose to veto one of the Head of Household’s initial nominations. The winner is also protected from becoming a replacement nominee for the week. This competition is more often a game of skill instead of a quiz or endurance contest.

Food competition

Food competitions allow the HouseGuests to win food for the week. Most food competitions are games of skill, although the HouseGuests may work individually, in teams, or as one group. The Head of Household hosts the Food Competition and can eat any food the winners would earn. Winners eat a variety of food during the week. Losers go on food restriction, which usually lasts until after the next eviction and HoH competition. However, food competitions may not be held every week. For example, no food competitions were played the latter half of season six.

During seasons two through six, the food restriction was a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, milk, water, and condiments. Starting in All Stars, the sandwiches were replaced with “Big Brother Slop”. The slop looks (but doesn’t taste) like oatmeal and has essential nutrients, but it is not appetizing. If the HouseGuests are glycemic, they may request a sugar substance to mix with the “Big Brother Slop”. In Season 9 Amanda Hansen fainted from a lack of sugar from her diet of “Big Brother Slop”. This is when the show stated that HouseGuests may request the sugar substance. The HouseGuests can win “passes” to escape food restriction once. The passes are transferable until used or its holder is evicted, so trading the pass became a tool in strategy.

When all HouseGuests compete as one group, the competition changes slightly. The competition is not for all food or food restriction for the whole week. Instead, the HouseGuests may compete to earn different food groups. Alternatively, the HouseGuests may compete to earn the full food diet for each day of the week.

To date, HouseGuest Jen Johnson of Season 8 is the first house guest to defy the slop rules, eating a turkey burger, cottage cheese, and an apple. By doing so she originally received a penalty nomination for the following week but this was later replaced with a penalty eviction vote during Week 7 due to the original punishment being found unfair to the week’s other nominee Jameka Cameron. HouseGuest Jeff Schroeder of Season 11 drank Gatorade while he was on Slop, therefore earning himself an extra day, as well as Kevin Campbell during Season 11 for eating a grape.

Luxury competitions

The Luxury Competitions allow the HouseGuests to win special prizes. They usually involve games of skill. Examples of previous luxuries earned include margarita parties, movie screenings, and access to newspaper clippings. This competition occurred frequently in the earlier seasons. In later seasons, Luxury Competitions are held less frequently as the show began giving prizes away during the Head of Household and Power of Veto competitions. An example of this is the backyard’s hot tub. The first Luxury Competition in seasons two through five were to earn the key to the hot tub. However, the hot tub’s key was hidden in the Gold room in season six, and the hot tub was not locked at all in seasons seven through eleven.

Have and Have Not competitions

Big Brother replaced the food competitions with Have and Have Not competitions starting with Big Brother 11. HouseGuests would be divided into either the “Haves” or the “Have Nots” depending on their performance in the competitions. The Haves would be able to eat anything they want, while the Have Not’s would have to be stuck on Slop for the week, and also for the whole week the Have Not’s have to sleep on a metal bed with a sleeping bag and a thin pillow, and they are stuck with taking cold showers for the week. An America’s Vote poll during Big Brother 11 allowed viewers to select a food item that houseguests on food restriction could have without penalty.

America’s Vote

America’s Vote, formally titled America’s Choice, allows the viewing public to select a HouseGuest to receive a special opportunity not available to other HouseGuests. Voting is done through the CBS website and text messaging. Though HouseGuests do not actively compete for the reward, it is essentially a reward based on viewers’ opinions of the HouseGuests. America’s Choice contests begin midway through each season and occur weekly. Previous contests have allowed HouseGuests to make a mobile phone call to family, have a walk-on role for a CBS soap opera, and conduct an internet chat with fans. In season six, the first America’s Choice contest was to vote a previously evicted HouseGuest back into the house. America’s Choice is not always a choice between contestants to earn a special opportunity. Sometimes viewers are asked what challenge the HouseGuests should play or what kind of appliance would be given to the HouseGuests. In season eight, America’s Choice spun off into America’s Player, where one of the HouseGuests was chosen to fulfill tasks voted on by the public for financial reward. During Big Brother 7: All-Stars, America’s Choice was renamed America’s Vote. An America’s Vote poll during Big Brother 10 allowed viewers to select a food item that houseguests on food restriction could have without penalty. Big Brother 11 continued a similar poll weekly throughout the season. In season 15, America actually got to vote in secret several times to put nominees on the block for eviction.

Executive Producers

A majority of the Big Brother seasons were executive produced by Arnold Shapiro andAlison Grodner. Arnold Shapiro then split from the series in 2006 while Alison took over the reins with Rich Meehan. She runs her own production company and has produced shows such as She’s Got the Look and Plain Jain for the CW.

* Source: Wikipedia.com

Past Big Brother Winners (By Season)

  1. Eddie McGee
  2. Will Kirby
  3. Lisa Donahue
  4. Jun Song
  5. Drew Daniel
  6. Maggie Ausburn
  7. Mike Malin
  8. Dick Donato
  9. Adam Jasinski
  10. Dan Gheesling
  11. Jordan Lloyd
  12. Hayden Moss
  13. Rachel Reilly
  14. Ian Terry
  15. Andy Herren