“Big Brother” is one show that changed the way we look at reality television forever. Indeed, what started as a television series in the Netherlands evolved into a long-running American show that is now 21 seasons strong on CBS.
The concept behind the show is pretty simple. You put a group of people together and let them live inside one house. And then, you proceed to document everything they do for 24 hours a day. Every week, these houseguests would vote someone out of the house. And whoever becomes the last remaining houseguest gets to win $500,000.
If you’ve been following the show over the years, you would be aware of all the drama that has gone on inside the house. And even if you regularly watch the show though, we bet you’re not aware of some dark secrets behind “Big Brother.” Here’s what we found out:
20 Houseguests are required to give up doctor-patient confidentiality
As one clause of the “Big Brother” agreement for its applicants states, “I hereby waive any physician-patient privilege that I may have or that may arise with any physicians, psychologists, health care providers (including both physical and mental health care providers), social workers, health care institutions, insurers, and other individuals or entities as a result of my participation in the participant selection process and/or the Series.”
19 There’s no singing allowed in the house
According to a report from the website Nicki Swift, none of the houseguests are allowed to break into song at any moment during their stay in the “Big Brother.” This is reportedly due to possible copyright issues that may arise as a result of airing a cast member singing on television.
18 The house can get pretty messed up
Imagine putting a group of people inside one house and letting them live there for several days. In the end, there’s bound to be a lot of mess. As you may know, the “Big Brother” has always had a persistent ant problem in the kitchen. Meanwhile, during one season, the houseguests even had to deal with rats.
17 Trucks are sometimes called in to clean up the liquid mess
Yes, a lot of spills, thrills and everything in between tend to occur inside the “Big Brother” house. And so, it’s no surprise that it tends to collect a lot of liquid mess. For all this, a truck is the best cleaning solution. According to CBS, “Sometimes giant trucks are brought in after competitions to suck out water, goo, and other fun liquids.”
16 ‘Big Brother’ also watches the entire casting process
According to a report from the website She Knows, auditions for the show are done using two-way mirrors. This way, producers can readily observe potential houseguests throughout the entire process. Hence, they also get to see more candid moments from the participants. This may be a great way to determine if a person would be a good fit for “Big Brother.”
15 Potential houseguests can get tested for STDs
According to a copy of the “Big Brother” Applicant Agreement with Arbitration Provisions uploaded on Document Cloud, a participant “may be required to undergo medical testing for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and/or other sexually transmitted diseases.” Meanwhile, participants are also asked to “acknowledge and understand” that such tests "cannot be guaranteed to be 100% accurate.”
14 Some houseguests were recruited
As it turns out, the show doesn’t just look at people who audition for the show. Instead, they also go out and recruit people themselves. As former houseguests, James Rhine told Huffington Post, “They found me on Myspace. They literally hit me up because they liked the modeling picture I had as a profile picture, and my old job was as a corporate investigator. I had never watched the show, but they kept telling me they saw me as the second coming of this Dr. Will person.”
13 Houseguests are only given a 24-hour notice before moving into the house
According to the “Big Brother” applicant agreement, a houseguest would be notified of their participation in the show “within only twenty-four (24) hours before being required to move into the House.” The filming of the show then takes place for around 95 days and begins at the date that was designated by the show’s producer.
12 Houseguests can be searched upon entry
Upon admission into the house, incoming houseguests must comply with a search. As the “Big Brother” Applicant Agreement stipulates, “any luggage, belongings and/or other items” brought into the house by a houseguest can be checked out. Moreover, participants are not allowed to bring any kind of weapon or drugs into the house.
11 The show casts alternate houseguests
Just like any other type of show, something unexpected can occur with current houseguests. Because of this, the show may keep alternate houseguests on stand-by. In fact, the “Big Brother” agreement contains a clause which states, “I acknowledge that I may be chosen as an alternate (as opposed to a participant) by Producer in its sole discretion.” It also further states, “I understand that if I am selected to be an alternate and not chosen to replace a participant, then I do not have any chance to win any prize and no consideration shall be payable to me.”
10 The show can use a houseguest’s name as a domain name online
If you become quite a popular houseguest on “Big Brother,” the show may decide to start a website about you while using your name as the website's domain name. Should this happen, the “Big Brother” agreement stipulates that a participant would “grant to Producer the right to utilize and own such domain names.”
9 Houseguests are not allowed to challenge their elimination
As you may know, a houseguest would get eliminated each week until such a time that there is only one houseguest remaining inside the “Big Brother” house. With regard to this elimination process, it turns out that houseguests already had to agree that they will not challenge the elimination done on the show. This is part of what they signed in the “Big Brother” Applicant Agreement.
8 Producers have complete control of utilities in the house
When it comes to all the utilities being used by houseguests inside the “Big Brother” house, the producers are in full control. In fact, there is a clause in the applicant agreement which states, “I acknowledge and understand that the water supply to the House will be rationed by Producer, and that Producer will ultimately control all power and utilities flowing into the House.”
7 The show is not filming at a real house
According to the website Reality Blurred, the “Big Brother” house is more of a soundstage than an actual house. But as you know, it is made to resemble a house for the cameras. Hence, there is a living room, dining room, and bedroom. Meanwhile, the kitchen is said to have the biggest space.
6 The show can film inside a cast member’s actual house
Attached to the “Big Brother” agreement for participants is what is known as a “Location Agreement.” Basically, this would give producers permission to film inside a houseguest’s actual house should the need arise. Moreover, the agreement states that the show would have “the right to refer to the Property by any real or fictitious name.”
5 More than 80 cameras are filming inside the house
According to CBS, there are as many as 87 cameras around the house. Moreover, the applicant agreement states, “All rooms in the House (including the garden and other adjacent areas) will be equipped with visible and possibly invisible cameras and microphones. All cameras and microphones will continuously record everything that occurs within the House 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, including, without limitation, in the dark, through infrared or other technology."
4 Producers decide what news to share with houseguests
When it comes to news coming from the ‘outside world,’ show producers get the final say on what is shared with the current houseguests. A clause on the participant agreement states, “I understand that it is solely within the discretion of Producer to decide whether and what, if any, information pertaining to events occurring outside the House, including, without limitations, events or personal or familial interest to me, will be provided to me.”
3 Every houseguest is prevented from communicating with anyone outside the house
As stated in a clause in the “Big Brother” applicant agreement, any participant would have to agree to “a prohibition on the use of mobile telephones and access to email of the Internet.” This is said to protect any type of confidential information regarding the show, such as the elimination of houseguests.
2 The show can throw in some plot twists whenever they want
Early on in the casting process, a possible participant in the show would already have to agree to “twists of plot and elements of surprise.” The participant also has to agree to be kept in the dark about these surprises and plots until after production has started. On the other hand, the show may also choose not to inform them about any plot twist.
1 All the houseguests get paid
Even if you don’t get the actual prize, it turns out “Big Brother” houseguests never go home completely empty-handed. According to the show’s agreement for applicants, all the houseguests receive $750 per week for each week that they had stayed inside the house. So basically, the longer you get to stay in, the more money you make.
Sources: Big Brother Application Agreement, CBS