Big Brother 18: What New Comp Is Replacing Battle of the Block?

Time to get ready for a NEW twist since Battle of the Block (BOTB) is officially dead, at least for Big Brother 18.  Executive Producer Allison Grodner did hint at the possibility of it coming back in the future, but I suppose only time will tell.  CBS does like to recycle twists (i.e. the twin twist).  The announcement of BOTB not being a part of the new season also came with the reveal of the first twist of the season.  There is going to be a new competition on the Sunday night episodes!

Battle of the Block Meme

As far as we can tell, there will still be Have-Nots, but Grodner told The Hollywood Reporter they wanted to change things up and “keep the stakes high in the sunday show because we didn’t want to go back to Have-Not competitions.” I can kind of agree only because there wasn’t a whole lot of impact on the game as a whole. With no competitions, the Have-Nots will likely be selected again by the Head of Household.

More often than not, people volunteer to be Have-Nots, which is one way to be in the HOH’s good graces since you prevent them getting blood on their hands for something that doesn’t even end a fellow houseguests game.  Not to mention, while being a Have-Not sucks (especially for sleeping arrangements), Big Brother hasn’t been as strict on them in recent seasons, as evidenced by the complete lack of penalties given out when rules aren’t followed.

Okay, back to the new competition.  At this point, we have some information, but no solid evidence as to how it will impact the game.  From what we know, the competition will take place after the original (see speculation later) Head of Household announces the new eviction nominees.  However, the competition will be before the veto competition.  Grodner also says there will be a “new ceremony” at the end of the new competition. At this point, we can only theorize what the new challenge airing on Sunday nights will be, and I have two possible ideas – keeping in mind that they wanted the competition to have high stakes.

Theory One: Battle of the Block spinoff, but with only one HOH nominating

My first idea is kind of a spin-off of some aspects of BOTB.  In a game where the general format is assign an HOH, choose nominees, possibly choose a replacement nominee and evict a house guest, there are only a few places where you can have a major (high stakes) impact on the game.  Since we know this is after the HOH competition and before the veto competition, that leaves us with the nominee “step”.  That leads me to conclude that the HOH may have to nominate FOUR house guests.  This is similar to BOTB in that four house guests will be nominated, but it is not by two different HOH’s and they do not work on teams.   The competition will be for the four nominees to battle it out and the two who win would be taken off the block and the two losers would be the ones left for eviction (pending the outcome of the Power of Veto competition and ceremony).

I think this could be interesting for a few reasons.  Traditionally, Big Brother follows the same sort of pattern of competitions, and tends to have the same type of comps only with changes of the theme to fit the season.  Given that this would be a four-person competition and you would need to have the possibility for two people to end up winners, we would see some different types of competitions.  I’m sure CBS knows they need to spice it up a little to keep people interested.

Final HOH Comp pt 1

In addition, this would have a major impact on the HOH.  They would be getting blood on their hands and putting a target on their back for four fellow house guests even though two will never be at risk of going home.  The standard “pawn” play won’t work since the pawns would need to win the competition to be safe.  It’s not like putting a single pawn up against an easy target.  I suppose if you have 3 pawns and you can guarantee the one target does not win the competition, you might be good, but that would be a tough one to swing.

This would be different than BOTB, since each HOH only had to nominate two people, in addition, it was too easy to have one of the people throw the competition.  This left the HOH who nominated them in power and usually guaranteed the safety of the one throwing the competition leaving the “anticipated target” to be evicted.  Often the two HOH’s would work together and it kind of made the BOTB pointless.  With 4 individual nominees, it is likely that no one would throw it since their safety would not be guaranteed because they could not guarantee that the target won’t win and save themselves.  This would make it a true competition with high stakes.

The only problem I see here is that the competition could not last the whole season.  With 4 nominees, it would have to end once the pool starts getting smaller or too many house guests would be nominees.  This is similar to BOTB which lasted for 8 weeks in Big Brother 16 and only 5 weeks in Big Brother 17; however, the shorter run in BB17 could be because it wasn’t really a “fan favorite”, depending who you asked, of course.  Often, the twists don’t last the whole game – usually one twist ends and it leads to a different twist, for example when the coaches in Big Brother 14 entered the game.

Games Have BegunEven the Have-Not competitions (and previously the food competitions) were not a guaranteed weekly competition.  There were still weeks where the HOH would choose the have-nots.  There is no way to tell if the intention of the Big Brother 18 producers was to create a new competition that would be every week for the whole season, such as HOH and Veto, or if it is just a twist that is not meant to last the entire season.

Theory 2: Head of Household power fight

Now, I did have one other idea.  Since this is after the nominations, but before the Veto competition (that the HOH participates in), I am wondering if there will be a change in HOH (which is why I mentioned “original” HOH earlier).  This would lead to another competition to battle for the replacement HOH.  This would have some high stakes in a different sort of way.  First, the original HOH will have blood on their hands for the nominations while losing their power. In addition, similar to BOTB, they can go from HOH to being a nominee and possibly evicted in the same week if the Power of Veto is used.

This would also be a good twist strategically.  Often as HOH, you have a primary target and you work to get the votes to get them evicted.  Generally, the HOH does not ever cast a vote (except, of course, in the rare occasion there is a tie).  However, if you are going to be replaced as HOH, you can count yourself as a vote assuming that people stay on your side even when you are no longer “in power”.  But be careful – if one of your expected votes becomes HOH, you lose it.  Not to mention, you will have the nominees gunning for you if they win veto and a backdoor is very possible.

Big Brother 17 Episode 17 (1)

Now, both of these competition speculation ideas have one tiny issue.  Alison Grodner did mention that there may be a new ceremony too, but obviously, “expect the unexpected” and this could just be to throw us off and make the speculation more difficult.  The first speculation regarding the 4 house guests and two of them being taken off the block doesn’t really leave room for a ceremony.  It is possible that some sort of version of this could be true – such as only two nominees and they battle each other to save themselves.  Then the HOH would have to choose a replacement nominee which would be a ceremony.  I am not sure about this though since with the Power of Veto, that could cause two replacements in a week.  However, this would make for a great game, lots of change-up and a lot of blood on the HOH hands.

Similarly, in the idea where the HOH is replaced, there would not really be a new ceremony.  However, if the nominees are allowed to compete (which would only be fair) and one of them wins, they would automatically come off the block and would need to select a replacement nominee.  Watch out original HOH, they could easily avenge their original nomination by selecting YOU for eviction.

Of course, everything is speculation until Sunday, June 26th when the first new competition will be aired, aside from what we are able to gather in spoilers from the Big Brother Live Feeds.

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