Since early August, Big Brother fans have known about CBS’s plans to launch a digital version of the series this fall. It would only be available through a CBS-All Access subscription. Fans reacted to the announcement with mixed emotions.
Some people relished at the idea of Big Brother all year round (if you include the Canada edition). Others loved the idea of a Big Brother mainly geared towards feed watchers and superfans. Some found the idea of a digital season, which they had to pay to watch, outrageous.
No matter how fans responded, CBS would continue on their path to an exclusive online version. For weeks, CBS has released more and more details about the upcoming digital season. Yesterday, they started showing commercials that gave us a lot more insight into what to expect this fall.
CBS made it very clear that this digital season would not be Big Brother 19, but instead titled Big Brother: Over the Top (#BBOTT or #BigBrotherOTT). Big Brother: Over the Top promises to give fans more control than ever before.
— BBOverTheTop (@BBOverTheTop) September 1, 2016
Here are a few other details we’ve gathered about Big Brother Over The Top:
- New Cast. Executive Producer Allison Grodner didn’t exclude the idea of vets returning for the digital version. However, she stated wanting to save the superstar players for a summer season. The majority of the Big Brother: Over the Top Cast should be newbies.
- New casting director. There is a rumor that Robyn Kass, who usually casts for Big Brother and Big Brother Canada, will be too busy focusing on Big Brother Canada 5. Therefore, the casting team for The Amazing Race will be put in charge of casting Big Brother: Over the Top. No word yet on when the new cast will be announced.
- Julie Chen will be involved. We can assume that Julie will host live evictions. However, CBS Interactive president Marc DeBevoise stated that her role would be “a little different” than what fans are used to. We’ll have to see exactly what that means in the fall.
- The prize money cut in half. Instead of playing for $500,000, the contestants will compete for $250,000. Still a lot of money, but not as thrilling as $500,000.
- Episodes air weekly. To satisfy broadcast viewers who might join the live feeds world, CBS will have episodes on CBS All-Access every Wednesday at 10PM ET/7PM PT. The episodes will then be available on-demand the next day. The Big Brother: Over The Top press release said episodes on Wednesday, so we’re not sure if that means one live eviction episode on Wednesday or three episodes uploaded all at once, similar to three episodes airing a week.
- 24-Hour Access. Unlike previous seasons, Big Brother: Over The Top, will let fans see everything. This means that competitions and ceremonies will no longer be blocked out. This also means that Big Brother won’t have a major set for most competitions.
- Incentive to make contestants stay awake. Grodner didn’t go into details, but she stated that there would be things going on in the house to keep the players up. This means fans should have something to watch and explore more often. We won’t get hours of boredom from watching people sleep.
- “Unprecedented interactive opportunities that have an immediate impact on the game.” Fans wil get the opportunity to vote on things that will affect players 24-7.
- Fans can go commercial free. CBS recently announced a $9.99 a month plan that would be ad free. This isn’t a concern to feed watchers, because CBS doesn’t currently run ads during the feeds, but when viewing episodes, this might come in handy. It’s an extra $4 compared to the usual $5.99 plan.
- Big Brother: Over The Top premieres September 28 at 10/9C. Exactly a week after the Big Brother 18 finale airs.
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