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‘All-Stars’ to return on BB debut
The ‘Big Brother’ producers are turning up the heat. With the ‘All-Stars’ season debuting tonight on CBS, the brain trust behind the summer-long reality series is busy planning new and devious ways to keep the returning players on their toes.
“This is not your mama’s ‘Big Brother’,” promises executive producer Allison Grodner. “The returning HouseGuests have played this game before and we need to be able to throw some curve balls in. I cannot tell you specifically but certainly there will be things throughout the season that will be different and will kick the game up a few notches.”
Infamous for masterminding twists to the series now in its seventh season, Grodner and her cohorts Arnold Shapiro and Rich Meehan let one out of the bag early on. From June 21st to June 28th, fans had the chance to pick 6 of the 12 returning players from a list of 20 provided by CBS. The three males and females with the highest number of public votes will enter the ‘Big Brother’ house and start playing the game tonight. To complete the ‘dirty dozen’, the producers will be sending in their six picks too.
The ‘Big Brother’ series is no stranger to controversy and another erupted during the voting when it was discovered that some fans were using “auto voters” to flood the CBS site. According to Grodner, CBS had anticipated such monkey business and already had a process in place to discount the votes as quickly as they were coming in.
“We know how savvy our fans are. There wasn’t a problem. It was actually fun to watch. We saw how many votes were being generated by these bots. Rest assured they did not count,” Grodner told Jam! Showbiz. “Ultimately, there was a specific amount of votes that each IP address could send each day. You were allowed to return to the site every day and vote. To prevent the hacking and the auto voters from being able to be used, the number of votes that were allowed could not be released in order to prevent these extra votes from counting.”
With former players like Danielle Reyes (‘Big Brother 3’ runner-up) and Will ‘Dr. Evil’ Kirby (winner of ‘Big Brother 2’) in the running, ‘All-Stars’ is shaping up to be possibly the most competitive and most conniving season yet. Based on the voting results, Grodner revealed that the promotional campaigns launched by the HouseGuests to secure the public vote did pay off for them.
“We have hand-picked these people, with America’s help, to highlight each season in the house. So, already going into this you can say the competition is stiff. It is going to be a clash of the titans. We are excited to see the competitive nature of all 20,” said Grodner.
In putting together the list of 20, the producers tried to ensure that they had a good cross section of the past 75 players. Players whom fans loved and players whom fans love to hate. Not everyone the producers contacted were willing to return to the series though, for one reason or another.
“We had people we liked that didn’t come back because of life decisions. We are sad that they didn’t but we understand. This is a three month commitment that everyone has to make,” Grodner explained.
One such candidate that Grodner wishes they had in the fold is Nicole Nilson Schaffrich, the ‘Big Brother 2’ runner-up.
“I think there is one that is incredibly memorable: Nicole from season two. She did great,” said Grodner. “She played hard. She came back from nothing at the beginning of the season. So, as far as All-Stars, I think she deserves to be on that list but for reasons we completely understand, she was unable to come back.”
The decision to start the game with only a measly 12 players has ‘Big Brother’ fans scratching their heads. Some believe that there will be a twist either on the debut episode or shortly thereafter which will somehow add more HouseGuests to the equation.
Grodner is remaining tight-lipped on 12 HouseGuest scenario.
“No comment on that. Anything is possible in the ‘Big Brother’ house. Expect the unexpected as always. We are starting with 12 as we have been saying and we will see what happens from there.”
One rumour Grodner is quick to squash right away is that the series will be reverting back to its season one roots and allowing the public to directly vote out HouseGuests much like how the UK version of the series is run.
“What I will assure you is that will not happen. Our game still remains pure to where we started in which the people in the house are responsible for evicting their own.”
Responsible for re-inventing the series to make it more like ‘Survivor’ in the sense that the gameplay is focused on alliances, competitions and backstabbing, Grodner is looking forward to how the ‘All-Stars’ season progresses as much as the fans are. Monitoring the happenings in the ‘Big Brother’ house is not only her job but a guilty pleasure as well.
“I come back each year because this is really a lot of fun to do. We love this show. It is like summer camp,” said Grodner. “We are all screaming and cheering behind the scenes. It is unlike any other production. It is a great group of people. It is also fun to keep inventing new ways to work with the HouseGuests and to make the game better.”
‘Big Brother: All-Stars’ premieres tonight (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS. Following the premiere, the series will be broadcast each week on Tuesdays (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), Thursdays (8:00-9:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) and Sundays (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT). The Thursday broadcast, hosted by Julie Chen, will feature the live eviction of one of the houseguests.