For the reality TV faithful, Big Brother has been a mainstay during the summer since the year 2000. A social experiment involving placing sixteen strangers inside of a house and cutting them off from the outside world in a competition for $500,000, this long-running reality show is a favorite in the community. With so many colorful characters, fans flock to this CBS staple each summer.
Throughout the show's history, it has not been without its controversies - including a current one this season - that the production team has had to steer through. Sometimes these controversies are made very public, and other times the CBS team tries to keep them under wraps. With such a big production - and 24/7 monitoring on the houseguests - it is difficult to keep everything hush-hush, and the show's "dark secrets" often become very public knowledge.
15 Almost Cancelled After First Season
When Big Brother USA premiered in the summer of 2000, it followed the format of its European counter-parts. The format was widely different from what fans are currently watching today, which actually almost resulted in it being cancelled early.
The original format involved America voting on who left the house, which ultimately resulted in many of the controversial - and most interesting - houseguests being "evicted" early. Ratings began to fall each episode, and reviews were very poor. Now in its 21st season, the show has drastically improved its content and has become one of CBS's most anticipated shows of the summer.
14 Watching Houseguests Get "Intimate"
When producers mean that Big Brother contestants are being watched 24/7 in the house, they certainly mean it. While the houseguests are well aware of this fact, it doesn't always stop them from doing very private things in front of the cameras.
Known mainly as "showmances" in the house, couples often group together for romances throughout the summer. Sometimes these couples decide to get intimate even though there are viewers watching, and the cameras never turn away. The first instance of this happening was in Big Brother 4 between Amanda and David, who could not hold their urges until the game was over.
13 They "Try Out" The Contestants In A Hotel
The concept of being a houseguest on Big Brother is that they need to be comfortable being watched at all times by multiple cameras. While someone can easily say that they feel comfortable, the casting team needs to validate this first.
According to RealityBlurred, part of the final casting process includes observing potential contestants in a hotel setting first. This way producers are able to see what they are like in a private setting and in a "natural state". Isn't it strange that the producers consider watching someone 24/7 to be a natural state?
12 House Gets Very Dirty
With over sixteen adults confined to the same house for over three months, things are bound to get a little bit messy. However, the Big Brother house has reached states of dirtiness that difficult to mention.
Big Brother contestants have been chastised by production over the years for how dirty they can be in the house. Due to the constant eating in bedrooms, food is often left unattended which is a breeding ground for bugs and even mice. While they are reminded to clean throughout their time in the house, very few contestants treat this house in the same way to do back home.
11 Content Warnings After Season 15
CBS is well-aware that casting untrained actors is very risky, as they are not fully aware of any prejudices that they may be hiding. The show has not been without its controversies since the first season, but things certainly took a turn for the worse after Season 15.
CBS was forced to place a disclaimer before episodes of the show aired. Ensuring that viewers knew that CBS did not condone the comments and actions of their "cast" was important, but left a black mark on the show that has yet to be removed.
10 Informed Guests About 9/11
The second season of Big Brother took place over the summer of 2001, which also featured the worst attack on American soil. While houseguests are not normally informed about things happening in the outside world while on the show, producers made a special exception regarding 9/11.
When information broke that contestant Monica Bailey had a cousin who was present at the time of the attack, producers made the decision to inform the houseguests. What resulted was a heart-wrenching display of human emotion of real people cut off from the outside world.
9 Have To Prevent Planes Flying Overhead
Considering that houseguests are normally left in the dark about the outside world, they spend a lot of their time pondering about what may be happening. While thinking can only get them so far, sometimes all they need to do is look towards the sky.
As early as the first season, fans of the show have tried to inform cast members with outside information using various means. The most popular method is to fly a "sky message" over top of the house so that it is visible while houseguests are in the backyard. While production is usually quick to diffuse the situation, it has spoiled some things over the years.
8 The Jury Was Not Always Sequestered
While it is already very difficult to convince those who are bitter from being removed from the game to give others money, the show made it much more difficult in previous seasons.
Currently, those who form the jury are "sequestered" and have no knowledge of what is going on in the game besides small pieces of information. However, early seasons of the show allowed jury members to return home and watch the show like everyone else. This resulted in some very inequitable decisions made, which resulted in producers removing them from the outside world as well.
7 Production Watches Them At The Pool Before Casting
Known as the "biggest party of the summer", Big Brother has always prided themselves on including beautiful people in their cast. Since the houseguests are stuck on the same property all summer, they certainly get good use out of their bathing suits and swimming pool. In fact, Big Brother encourages it more than most people think.
Even during the casting process, producers are keeping the pool in mind. People who have gone through the casting process have mentioned having to wear their bathing suits and even swim for producers. Considering how important they consider this part of the program, is this really a surprise to anyone?
6 Messed Up Competitions Before
When houseguests are not lounging around the house, they are spending their time vying to win competitions for power in the game. The various House of Household or Power of Veto competitions dictate who is able to make decisions which impact the gameplay of the season. While they are supposed to be up for grabs for any contestant to win, the production team does not always do their best job.
During a pivotal competition in season nine, production poorly worded a question that changed the tide of the game. As a result, the outcome of the competition shifted and had a much different result. The show ultimately overcame the criticism and has been much more careful since then.
5 Julie Chen Was Offended Following Racism
The one constant throughout over twenty seasons of Big Brother has been Julie Chen-Moonves. The "Chen-bot" has been the host of the show since day one, and is synonymous with the brand. Since the first episode she has seen just about everything, but it took an ugly turn during season fifteen.
Following intense racism from some of the house guests, Julie revealed how personally offended she was at their actions. In an interview she spoke about how "ignorant" the houseguests were and how the comments offended her as an Asian-American. Through it all, Julie held her composure, which must not have been easy.
4 Season 9 Winner Went To Jail
While the $500,000 prize for the winner of the show can be life changing money to some people, the end result is not always happy. Placing that much money in the hands of an "average person" can have negative effects.
When season nine winner Adam Jasinski walked away with his prize, he claimed that he would use it to help the autistic children he worked with. Unfortunately, he used it much more nefarious means which landed him in jail.
3 Houseguests Not Allowed To Quote Movies or Sing
Keeping themselves busy for almost 100 days is certainly no easy task for the houseguests. Without any means of television or reading material, it must get very boring. Unfortunately, contestants are not even able to quote movies or sing to themselves for the entire duration of the show.
Due to copyright laws which prevent CBS from showcasing lyrics or quotes without payment, the show prevents the cast from referencing any outside media. Former houseguests have stated that this is actually one of the hardest aspects of the game due to the amount of boredom they face each day.
2 Did Not Plan For The Longest Competition Ever
The variety of competitions which Big Brother puts their houseguests through always keeps them on their toes. Sometimes there are simple quiz or racing competitions, but other times they are put through grueling endurance tests. While it is normal for these competitions to go on for several hours, the production team did not have a plan for what happened in season six.
The infamous "Pressure Cooker" challenge began airing at night with the idea that it would only last for several hours. However, the competition ended up going on for 11 hours, which was unheard of and unplanned by the production team. Producers wound up scrambling to deal with this, and the competition has never been repeated.
1 Slop Has Hospitalized House Guests
As a method of "punishment" for their houseguests, the producers take away regular food from them during the game. As a replacement, they are given "Big Brother Slop", which has been regarded as grotesque and very unpleasant to eat. While supposedly tolerable, it has created several problems over the years.
Slop has allegedly hospitalized two contestants, both of whom did not get the required nutrients from the "food". One contestant who was hypoglycemic did not receive enough sugar while on slop, and promptly fainted on television. Perhaps this is one aspect of the game that production should rethink.