Big Brother is a competitive reality TV show created by the John de Mol. The American version is actually based on the Dutch show of the same name. The Big Brother franchise is possibly the biggest hit reality show concept the world has ever seen. After the unprecedented success of the show, it has been replicated in a number of countries. In 1997, the original version of Big Brother was created by John de Mol in The Netherlands. As the Dutch show concept began to take the world by a spin, soon an American version was created by John in 2000, for the CBS. The show has been running ever since and is the longest running adaptation of the franchise to date. The participants in the show are known as HouseGuests in America and Canada, while they go by the name of Housemates in other countries. You can watch this television show with all the major cable television providers and you can stream it with one of the Comcast Internet Plans at cabletvinternet.s9.com/xfinity-high-speed-internet-plans-.html.
In America, as with other countries, the show has been a huge hit. It is one of the most popular shows in the country and almost everyone recognizes its name, whether they like the show or not. After 16 seasons, and 558 episodes, the show is still one of America’s favorite shows. Naturally, CBS has made sure that the show keeps running for at least the next two seasons. Presently, the show is running in its seventeenth season, which premiered on June 24, 2015, and is scheduled to conclude on September 23, 2015.
The show met with significant flak from the audience during its first season. CBS chose to address the issues by completely changing the format of the game. In the later seasons of the show, new twists are constantly being added and removed from the show to keep things interesting. No matter the changes, the main theme of the show remains unchanging. A group of HouseGuests is locked for a few weeks in a custom-built house without any contact with the outside world. These contestants do not get access to any communication device to contact the outside world, except in case of a family emergency or death. They are not supposed to use any electronic devices either. During their time at the house, each HouseGuest is constantly under surveillance.
Cameras and audio devices are placed at various locations of the house. There are a number of rules that the HouseGuests required to follow religiously. The HouseGuests are expected to interact with other members in the house. The format of the show is portrayed as a social experiment to observe the behavior of people with others, each with their own set of beliefs, ideals, and convictions. The audience gets to see the behavior of people in circumstances when they meet people of vastly different understanding of life, all the while when they are locked together in confined space. Although the contestants can leave the game any time they want, once they have left, they will not be allowed to return.
In the first season, the show required the contestants to nominate two HouseGuests for elimination after regular intervals. Then, the audience was given the power to choose between the two for elimination. The nominee with the highest votes of elimination is evicted from the house. The process was repeated until only 3 HouseGuests remained. A final audience vote determined who would be the winner. The prize of the game was, and continues to be, $500,000. However, the show received a lot of flak from audience for having no legitimate ways of supporting competition in the game.
In the light of criticism, the format of the show underwent a complete overhaul. Except for the basic skeleton of the contestants being locked in a house with no outside contact, almost every other thing was changed. Now, the HouseGuests had to pick a Head of Household, who would get luxury privileges in the house. No HouseGuest can be Head of Household for two consecutive weeks. The Head would have the power to nominate two candidates for elimination. A HouseGuest with the Power of Veto, can force the Head to replace one of the nominees. Later, instead of the audience voting their choice of elimination, the power now rests with the other HouseGuests. If there is a tie, the reigning Head of Household gets to decide whom to evict.
After a series of evictions every week, the HouseGuests who survived up to a certain point, become the members of a jury. This jury is responsible for deciding the final winner of Big Boss for that particular season. The jury exercises its power when only two HouseGuests are left in the house. The series airs 3 episodes per week, out of which the weekly eviction episode is telecasted live. During the eviction episodes, the audience gets to see the show host, Julie Chen.
Apart from the episodes, the viewers can get to see the HouseGuests in real time as well. The viewers can subscribe to the CBS website to get access to the live footage of the Big Brother house. The only time the live feed is cut off is during important events such as nominations, the power of veto moments, and such. This is done to keep the audience in suspense until the airing of the next episode.
Apart from the Head of Household, other HouseGuests can earn special provisions and powers too. However, unlike the position of Head of Household, these special provisions have to be earned based on skills and not by votes. The most notable power is Power of Veto. The Power of Veto itself has undergone a significant change since the time it was introduced. Following each change, the name of the power underwent a modification. When it started, it was called Silver Power of Veto. Then it became the Golden Power of Veto, which later became the Diamond Power of Veto. Presently, the golden version is in practice which grants the owners the power to remove an eviction nominee from the block, even if the Power of Veto wielders themselves are the nominees.
Contestants also participate in competitions for various provisions such as food, luxuries and entertainment. Losers of the food competitions are punished. In earlier seasons, they were punished with a diet of peanut butter and jelly. Now, the punishments include cold showers, eating slop, and sleeping in a separate bedroom. Those who break the rules or try to overcome the restrictions are penalized severely.
The show has been widely popular in the country. The first season of the show had a viewership of roughly 10 million viewers. Since then, the show has steadily lost its charm. The previous season, i.e. the sixteenth installment of the show registered a viewership of less than 8 million viewers. Even then, Big Brother is a huge crowd pulling show for CBS and airs primetime.
Although the show is hugely popular, it has always been fraught with criticism and controversies. The show has faced public criticism for everything from sexual harassment on the premises, to the use of inappropriate language, to actual physical violence. It is a twisted irony that the show’s popularity has only improved on account of those controversies, rather than diminish.