If anyone enjoys watching Big Brother, then they need to know that they're probably a voyeur (a person who enjoys watching others have some hanky panky). At least that's what the creator of the show once said. However, considering that Big Brother is seen by millions of people, it seems that more people than we thought were into voyeurism. I mean, we all love watching a bunch of people who are isolated in a house, without access to TV, radio, phones, news, or the Internet. It's no wonder this reality show became so popular all over the world. But did fans know that as of November 2016, 387 seasons of this guilty pleasure have been aired in over 54 countries and regions? Yeah, I didn't think so. And with so many episodes and different editions, there must be some behind-the-scene secrets and twists that the producers don't want us to know about, right?
So, here are 15 surprising things we never knew about Big Brother.
15 Some Contestants Were Hospitalized Because Of Slop
During the first seven season, the punishment for loosing a challenge was being put on a peanut butter and jelly diet, which is bad, but not that bad, right? But later, they went from peanut butter and jelly to "slop." "Slop" is described by CBS as "just-add-water, nutritionally fortified porridge mix."
Even though it sounds pretty healthy, a few contestants ended up hospitalized because of it. Season nine's Amanda Hansen ended up in a hospital after suffering a seizure, which was caused by the lack of sugar (because she was literally eating only slop). Allison Nichols, also from season nine, had an allergic reaction after eating the mixture and also ended up in a hospital.
If you want to try it, the recipe is avaliable online. It contains: "natural oats, proprietary blend of whey protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, wheat protein isolate, milk protein isolate, natural and artificial flavors, vitamins and minerals, cellulose gum, salt and acesulfame potassium."
14 They're Not Even Allowed To Read Or Write
Out of all these forbidden things, television, radio, phones, and the Internet are among the ones that contestants miss the most. But I totally understand why these items are forbidden. First of all, the idea of the show is to be isolated from the outside world. Second, just imagine what the show would look like if they all had phones and newspapers— we would probably just watch them be on their phones the whole time.
Here's another thing you probably didn't know about: contestants aren't allowed to read (the only book in the house is the Holy Bible) or to write anything (they don't even have pens and paper). So what are they allowed to do? Well, they can play chess. I know, that's so much fun...
13 One Winner Used His Prize Money To Become A Drug Dealer
Back in 2008, Adam "Baller" Jasinski won Big Brother. For 12 weeks, he shared his bedroom, bathroom, and living room with strangers, and it was well worth it. He won $500,000. However, it looks like that wasn't enough for him. One year after winning Big Brother, Jasinski was arrested for drug dealing. He was put into prison and charged with possession of oxycodone pills with intent to distribute. The police said Jasinski admitted that he used his Big Brother money to fund his illegal business. To make it even more interesting, the person he was trying to sell the pills to was actually working for the government and was wired. Just his luck, right?
Good thing he's used to sharing his living space with strangers and having no privacy. It's like he's back into the show again.
12 There Are Secret Codes For When Things Go Wrong
Big Brother has secret codes for when things don't go as planned. You see, producers and the production staff constantly monitor the contestants and create confidential security codes for emergencies. According to one source close to the show, they revealed a few secrets to DailyStar. He said, "They use code Zebra when someone is determined to leave the house and are ranting in the Diary Room. When this comes into effect producers are forced to postpone whatever they are trying to do. Obviously their main goal is to keep housemates in the building at all times." The source also said, "Security have to be ready in case housemates make a break for it through the fire escape or they need to be sent into the Diary Room."
I guess that staff have to be on their feet all the times. You could say that they should expect the unexpected, right?
11 In Order To Apply For The Show, Contestants Must Have Watched At Least One Full Season
Each of the possible candidates has to go through a process that is pretty much the same for every reality show. First, you have to spend a lot of time isolated in your hotel room, before the show even starts. Then there are psychological evaluations, doctors appointments, STD tests etc. But even if you pass all of those, you won't get into the house unless you have seen at least one season of the show.
According to the letter every contestant receives before the show, each of them must have seen at least one episode of Big Brother. The letter states, "You should know the show in and out. Coming out to finals with the idea that you have an advantage because you are starting the show with a clean slate is NOT a good idea. Full seasons are available on iTunes for purchase and some websites still have past season posted for free. YOU MUST have seen at least one FULL season."
10 Contestants Are Often Sleep Deprived
One would think that participating in Big Brother is a perfect way to get some rest, but unfortunately that's completely wrong. By watching you'll see that a lot of contestants are tired and sleepy most of the time. Well, Andy Herren, the winner of season 15, revealed why.
Andy told the Huffington Post: "They blare pop songs in the morning to wake you up. It could be any time between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. You have to wake up to change your mic pack out, and then once you do that, you can go back to bed if you want. In the early and middle stages of the game, I slept five to six hours a night, just because I was in the mindset of "last to bed, first to wake." During that last week, I was sleeping 15 to 18 hours a day because there would literally be nothing to do."
9 Contestants Aren’t Allowed To Sing Around Cameras
One of the things that are not allowed in the house is singing. So if you're one of those people who loves performing while they're taking a shower, then you definitely shouldn't apply for the show. Oh, and quoting movies is another thing that is strictly forbidden. If you're wondering why, the answer is pretty simple: copyright reasons. In case a contestant forgets about this rule and starts singing, the feed will be interrupted immediately and the producers will issue a warning through a speakers so that the whole house can hear. Contestants also can't talk about the production of the show, nor about their Diary Room confessions.
That's a whole bunch of rules, to be honest. How can they even memorize them? I definitely wouldn't be able to.
8 'Big Brother' Contestants Actually Get Paid For Their Participation
You would think that reality show contestants don't get paid, right? And most of the time, that's correct. For example, contestants of The Bachelor franchise don't get ANYTHING. But that's not the case here. Each contestant get $750 per week, which is not too much and not too little. Each season lasts for 12 weeks, which means that the contestants walk away with $9,000. The second place winner, who wins $50,000, and the $500,000 grand prize don't get the the weekly prizes, of course. However, contestants of the All-Star seasons get even more money; they get $4,000 per week!
Seriously though, to get paid $750 per week for doing literally nothing (except for arguing with other people) is a dream come true. Where do I sign up?
7 The Drama Is Often Scripted
Living with a bunch of strangers, without any privacy, can be difficult. I mean, everybody is so different, that fights and arguments are always expected. But, is the whole thing THAT bad? Whenever you turn on Big Brother on your TV, you're most likely to see some contestants arguing and fighting. That's because a lot of drama on the show is scripted. For example, UK's Celebrity Big Brother was slammed for being scripted, as contestants were instructed to film multiple takes of the same scene. Oh, and just like in most of reality shows, there's always a person who's instructed to stir things up. The things these TV shows do for ratings, right? Is anything even real, or is the whole thing scripted? They probably know who the winner is from the beginning.
6 Contestants Have To Be Tested For STDs
If you're a frequent viewer of Big Brother, then you might have noticed that almost all contestants are hot, young, and easily sexually aroused. Just give them a glass of wine, and they'll get drunk and start making out with each other (and probably have sex). Now, imagine what would happen if one of the contestants had an STD. That would probably spread in less than day. That is why every contestant has to take an STD test.
According to the contract that contestants have to sign before appearing on the show, "potential and actual houseguests agree to get tested for STDs but accept the risk of having sex with someone who might have HIV or an STD despite the results of those tests. Producers, however, "do not encourage any sexual activity among participants."
5 The Format Of The Show Was Changed After The First Season
Season one of Big Brother (I'm talking about the U.S. version here) was a bit different than the other seasons. You see, in the first season of America's Big Brother, it was the viewers who were in charge for voting off contestants each week. Now, if you were a contestant, what would you do knowing that fact? You'd probably try acting all cute and innocent all the time, hoping the viewers didn't vote you out. Well, that's what happened in the first season: the fact the viewers were in charge made the contestants act too ethically. That is why Allison Grodner, the show's executive producer, changed the rules and made the contestants in charge of eviction. And guess what—this completely stirred things up and showed how manipulative contestants can be.
4 Contestants Receive An Interesting Letter Before Entering The House
As I have mentioned before, Big Brother is one of those shows that are full of fights, arguments, and drama. However, all of that is mostly scripted. First of all, the producers are more likely to pick people who are bad tempered because otherwise they'll end up being boring on the show. Second, before the contestants arrive, they receive a letter with some instructions. That letter states, "Think about the types of people that fire you up, make you mad, bother you, etc. As much as you think you get along with everyone, YOU DON'T. We always hear that."
So the next time you watch Big Brother and somebody's fighting, don't fall for it! Remember that most of the fights are planned by the producers for the sake of ratings.
3 George Orwell’s Estate Sued Because Of The Name
Hopefully you all have heard of George Orwell, the English novelist. If not, then what you need to know about him is that he is best known for his dystopian novel 1984. The novel is set in the superstate of Oceania and its leader is Big Brother. Big Brother is kind of omnipresent, which means that he basically sees and hears everything all the time. Doesn't that sound familiar? Could it be that the reality show is completely based on this novel? Well that's what Orwell's estate thought as well, so they sued the show for copyright infringement. Obviously, they didn't shut down the show, but Orwell's estate did settle the case. Details about the settlement were not revealed, but I can imagine the estate got a lot of money.
2 Contestants Aren't Told What's Going On In The Outside World (Except In 2001)
Just like in most of reality shows, contestants of Big Brother are not allowed to have any contact with the outside world. So, if you want to get into the Big Brother house, you will have to say goodbye to your cell phone, the Internet, newspapers, friends, and family. Basically, you don't have any idea what's going on outside. Maybe if World War III started, or maybe Trump decided to resign as a president — who knows! When you think about it, that sounds like a nice vacation away from technology, doesn't it?
But in 2001, the producers made an exception — the final three contestants of season two were informed about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It turned out one of the finalists, Monica Bailey, lost a cousin in the attack.
1 It All Started In The Netherlands
I bet you thought that Big Brother originated in the U.S., am I right? Well, if that's the case, then you were wrong. Big Brother's country of origin is far, far away in Europe, in a liberal country that is known for tulips and weed. Yes, I'm talking about the Netherlands, (AKA:. Holland). Back in 1999, a Dutch media tycoon, John de Mol, came up with the Big Brother concept (by the way, he's the same guy who created The Voice franchise). Of course, everybody loved it, and that's how the Big Brother craze started. When he was asked about Big Brother, de Mol said, "There is a bit of a voyeur in each of us ... You learn more about life from watching Big Brother than from reading a book."
One thing is for sure, this show really brought a lot of money for de Mol. currently, his net worth is around $1.5 billion.