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Wednesday
Nov262014

Big Brother Australia vs. Big Brother on CBS

I expect to miss #BBAU 2014 after its season finale a lot more than I have missed #BB16. These two shows share the Big Brother name and the concept of putting 16 people together in a house for three months with weekly evictions until a winner is selected -- but that’s where the similarities end. Big Brother Australia and the American version of Big Brother on CBS are wholly different shows.

Big Brother Australia logo. Catchy animation on TV, too.As you know, I’m the Newbie Desk writer here, and to date I have watched only three Big Brother seasons: #BB15 and #BB16 on CBS, and Big Brother Australia 2014 (via this YouTube playlist). #BBAU 2014’s season finale airs in Australia's prime time about 30 minutes from when I’m writing this (at about 4:00 AM Eastern). I’ve been promising to write this post since #BB16 ended -- no spoilers here if you’ve been watching #BBAU.

The obvious up-front disclaimer is this: Reasonable people will disagree on matters of taste. That said, here’s my judgment: Big Brother Australia is by far the better show. I’m told that #BB1 (that is, the first season of the CBS show) used a format very similar to #BBAU’s but that CBS judged it needed to be tweaked (*cough* ruined) to be more palatable to American audiences. And then even the revised format devolved over the years into the formulaic #BB16 debacle about which my fellow contributors on this site wrote so much.

#BBAU's auditorium is huge, colorful, and full of excited people. The host and housemates enter through the "eye" in back and walk the catwalk through the audience to the stage. CBS, pay attention. If you're going to bother with a live audience, do it the way #BBAU does.Even if you don’t agree that #BB16 was predictable and boring, perhaps you might think it worthwhile to learn about an alternate Big Brother format which viewers in other English-speaking countries seem to enjoy. So here’s a #BBAU primer. First, let’s talk about the rules of the game. Later, we’ll discuss the content of the show’s TV episodes.

In Australia, the viewers cast eviction votes, not the house guests -- who are actually called “housemates” there. Actually, I’m not saying this correctly. Viewers vote to save housemates every week, so the housemate receiving the fewest viewer votes is the one evicted. During the season’s final week, viewers decide the winner. In this, #BBAU is fundamentally different (and, in my view, better) than the American version. Viewer participation directly affects game outcome each and every week. Contrast that with CBS’s #BB16: Viewers voted on silly “Team America” tasks which gave certain house guests unfair prize money advantages; viewer participation had no meaningful direct relevance to game outcome, and many of us perceived it only as a total waste of time.

Example of a nomination. Here, Sam, as Head of House, has used points to reveal a few house mates' locations on the nomination board.Back in #BBAU, housemates nominate their peers for potential eviction. In private Diary Room sessions, Big Brother gives each housemate five points to split among two nominees, asking “Who do you nominate, for how many points, and why?” The week’s Head of House is the last one called to the DR during nominations. Big Brother gives him or her 10 or 12 points; the HOH may spend points to reveal the positions of housemates on the Nominations Table and may split remaining points to nominate as many housemates as s/he’d like.

All housemates who received at least 5 points are nominated for potential eviction (while those who received 4 or fewer points are safe). Big Brother informs the housemates of who the nominees are and how many points they received (but who nominated whom remains secret). Then, voting is opened. Over the next few days, viewers cast votes via text message and Facebook to save their favorite housemates; during the next one or two live shows, with her characteristic flair and with the backing of an engaged, vocal audience, host Sonia Kruger delivers her signature lines to housemates, telling them who is safe (“The nominee who received the most votes to save them is [dramatic pause] ... Skye!”) and, later, who is evicted (“It’s time to go ... [dramatic pause] ... It’s time to go, Leo!”).

Another stark difference: In #BBAU, discussing nominations is strictly forbidden. Big Brother considers such talk to be collusion; housemates are not permitted the competitive advantage that they’d achieve by talking and strategizing about who they’d like to nominate and evict. And he’s not afraid to meaningfully penalize housemates for breaking that or other rules. For example, on Day 66 this season, Big Brother gave 3 nomination points each to Priya and Skye as punishment for trying to get Travis to reveal information about his Head of House “power play.”

Sonia Kruger, #BBAU's host, is natural and charming. She knows it's entertainment and does it well. Julie Chen should take some pointers from Sonia.By forbidding talk about nominations and by giving viewers all the power as to who stays in the house, the content of all housemate conversations is wholly different in #BBAU than in the CBS show. I find watching their interactions to be much more enjoyable. Because they have been freed from directly discussing the game, housemates often talk with each other as they would in the real world. Friendships and romances emerge; differences, conflicts, and controversies emerge as well. Over the course of the season, we are afforded the opportunity to get to know each housemate as an individual person; viewers grow more attached to their favorites and are thus, at least in theory, incentivized to keep watching and to keep participating.

Big Brother gives housemates a special “task” each week to test their skills, memory, teamwork, and/or endurance. These tasks vary greatly. Just a few examples: They had to run a live radio station; they were split into hotel servants and guests; they had to physically obey commands of a giant VCR remote control (pause = freeze in place; rewind = walk & talk backwards; slow-mo, fast-forward, etc.). These tasks provide interest and humor for viewers and conversation fodder for the housemates. If they pass the task, Big Brother gives them a higher budget for food; if they fail, supplies of luxury food items (and sometimes staples) are constrained. Although these weekly tasks have little relevance on game outcome, they are far more effective than the CBS version’s “haves & have-nots” at providing entertaining content for each week’s TV episodes.

Sonia shows viewers the point spread between their "votes to save."This brings me to the episodes themselves.  I find #BBAU’s episodes to be far less formulaic than the CBS show’s episodes. Although live episodes do have a predictable structure (recap, save some people, evict some people, interview the evictees), I have generally found something surprising and entertaining in each of this season’s 50+ episodes. Each episode unfolds organically based on the events of the day or days covered; the people are real and unscripted; moments of pure joy happen regularly.

I could not say the same about #BB15 or #BB16 on CBS. Episodes focus on competitions (most of which are predictable retreads of those used in previous seasons), ceremonies (nomination, power of veto, eviction, even HOH room reveals), and interpersonal conflict caused by artificial game-based situations. Diary Room sessions are highly scripted; there, house guests serve more as program hosts than players; rare is the genuine personal moment.

The #BBAU house is at the very top; the auditorium is in the middle left; the rest of the Dreamworld theme park is at the bottom.#BBAU’s live shows are a visual feast! Hosted by the effervescent Sonia Kruger, most live episodes begin with a unique, custom-produced open before the up-tempo theme music rolls while Sonia strolls down a catwalk to the cheers of hundreds in the audience. The broadcast originates from the Big Brother auditorium at Dreamworld, Australia’s largest theme park. Dazzling computer-generated graphics surround the audience. Sonia and the housemates enter through an elevated Big Brother “eye” and walk through the cheering fans to the center of another “eye” embedded in the floor of a huge stage backed by a giant screen used for video playback, graphics, and live views of the Big Brother house.

Live shows air twice weekly; there are two to four additional non-live shows each week which summarize what happened in the house since the last episode. It is through these “daily shows” that viewers get to know the housemates so well. Since Australia is 16 or more hours ahead of every U.S. time zone, I could count on every new #BBAU episode being ready for me to watch on-line as soon as I got home from work. It became my daily habit to watch it while making dinner. #BBAU does not offer live Internet feeds, so the four to six weekly episodes became the equivalent.

Although I do not dislike Julie Chen, I find Sonia Kruger to be a far more entertaining host. She handles the large audience with ease. Every interaction with the housemates comes across as natural and conversational. I’m not sure whether this is due to pure talent, the use of a teleprompter (rather than Julie’s cue cards), both, or neither. Sonia’s simply better in this role. (Sorry, Julie.)

Big Brother (and by this I mean the “person,” the all-seeing disembodied voice who controls housemates’ lives) is highly interactive, too. He talks with the housemates, not just at them. He is quick with humor and sarcasm. In the Diary Room, he asks probing questions and responds directly to what the housemates say to him. Big Brother talks to housemates in groups or individually wherever they may be, not merely in the Diary Room. He’s cheeky and highly entertaining. This interactivity is a huge part of what makes #BBAU so fun to watch (and so different, in a very positive way, from the CBS version).

Producers do clearly steer the show in Australia. I get the impression that CBS wants us to think they’re hands-off, but what happens instead is that we see them interfering at exactly the wrong times and for the wrong reasons. #BBAU episodes usually strike me as fresh; significant changes to the game, such as the introduction of “intruders” (new mid-season housemates), are obviously producer-controlled but I felt like such things happened at the right times.

By the way, unlike the CBS house, the #BBAU house itself is not physically connected to the auditorium; it’s about a quarter mile away down a wooded road through the back area of the Dreamworld property. I’m not a good judge of square footage, but I think it’s bigger than the American house —- perhaps significantly so. There’s a large swimming pool (perhaps three or four times the size of the CBS house’s pool) and hot tub in a large astroturf-covered front courtyard, and it’s flanked by a private “treehouse,” gym, laundry room, and outdoor grill. The kitchen and large dining room are in their own annex.

Inside the house, there’s a “lounge” (living room), two bedrooms, a huge bathroom with a 4-person communal shower and several sinks, an adjacent “parlour” (a luxury spa with two soaking tubs and numerous makeover tables), the “Power Room” into which Big Brother invites housemates for special rewards and projects, an adjacent task room which producers repurpose several times throughout the season, and, of course, the Diary Room (which for 2014 has been moved to a newly-built second level, the first time #BBAU's house has had two stories). Connected to the main house via a corridor off of the outdoor courtyard is the Sanctuary, a luxury apartment with its own pool, living/bedroom, and bathroom with soaking tub; Big Brother rewards the Head of House and his/her choice of guest, or some times other housemates, with overnight stays in the private Sanctuary.

Just because I find so much to like about Big Brother Australia does not mean I won’t tune in for #BB17 on CBS next year. But I think CBS could borrow some ideas from #BBAU to improve its own product without making it unrecognizable. How? That’s what I’ll write about next time.

Have you been watching Big Brother Australia 2014? What do you think of it? In what ways do you think it's better (or worse) than Big Brother on CBS here in the States? Comment below or @uselesstraffic.

Tuesday
Sep302014

The Top Five Big Brother Players of All Time

 

There are lots of Big Brother lists out there and every season I am asked to rank the top players of all time.  For the last few years my answer has been that I had several players that I call my top players – but I do not rank any one above the other.  Here is my top five players of all time – all should be considered ‘equal’ there is NO #1, #2, etc – listed by chronological order of when they first played Big Brother.

 

Will Kirby (Seasons 2, 7)

First Season Notes: 12 HGs in BB2, Jury NOT sequestered, no POV (didn’t exist), Nominated 4 times, won 5-2 vs Nicole (each was allowed to nullify a vote).

Since it was the first season of the format where they voted each other out, no one had a ‘style’ to model his/her game after.  Will’s style ended up being the best by far with as he did a bit of a Survivor Richard Hatch move and implied no one would vote for him in the end and when he ended up reaching the end, turned the tables and said that was the reason everyone should vote for him (also commenting “I hate you all”).  His arrogance and charm and perfectly symmetrical face won over the jury and America. Will never won a competition, was generally disliked by the live feed viewers until his showmance (Shannon) was evicted and he had distanced himself (mostly by eviction) from the negativity of “Chill Town” – the group of House Guests including Justin Sebik, Shannon Dragoo and Mike “Boogie” that had the negative image the first few weeks.

Second Season Notes: Nominated twice, claimed his mission was to help Mike win the season. A ‘flirtmance’ with Janelle Pierzina and rumored pre-show side deal/alliance with Mike, Erika Landin and others may have helped him get farther than he would have otherwise.

 

Danielle Reyes (Seasons 3,7)

First Season Notes: 12 HGs in BB3, jury NOT sequestered, POV introduced, only nominated once (technical nomination at final 3), HoH once, POV winner once, lost 9-1 to Lisa Donahue.

Danielle’s biggest move on the season was her secret alliance with Jason, so well hidden that even the live feed viewers didn’t know about it until Julie Chen revealed it on the TV show.  The two kept their conversations limited to an area not normally seen on the live feeds where they would play cards as a cover.  She also had entertaining Diary Room sessions where she would often mock her fellow houseguests.  Danielle is the only person in my top five list not to have won Big Brother.  I (and many others) believe she lost because the evicted HGs were not sequestered while they were waiting for the season to end and thus saw everything the viewers would see including the Diary Room sessions noted above.  After Big Brother 3 the Jury has always been sequestered and not allowed to watch Diary Room sessions or other private conversations.

Second Season Notes: Danielle never really had much of a chance in the All Star season as her previous tactic of deception and sneakiness couldn’t really be used again.  She placed 6th that year while winning one Hoh, one POV and being nominated three times.

With my personal rule that to be in the top you need to have won BB, this is the one exception, and I maintain that if Danielle’s Diary Room sessions had not been exposed to the Jury, she would have easily won this season.

 

“Evel” Dick Donato (Seasons 8,13)

First Season Notes: 14 HGs in BB8, HoH 3 times, nominated 3 times, POV winner 1 time, beat daughter Danielle Donato 5-2.  Week six used POV on Danielle instead of himself when he was also nominated.

Dick was rude, crude, obnoxious and loud.  Many will argue that he would not have made it past week six were it not for the “twist” where “America” made Eric Stein vote for Dustin Erikstrup to be evicted instead of Dick (Dustin was evicted 4-2).  Dick had blow-ups with many house guests including Jen Johnson who destroyed Dick’s cigarettes (Dick meanwhile had earlier dumped iced tea over Jen’s head).  Somehow through all of that and many other moments, Dick still managed to get to the final three which many will remember started with an endurance HoH competition that Dick lost to Zach Swerdzewski after seven and a half hours standing on a pedestal while being sprayed with water and holding on to a key (he later won Part 2 and 3 and evicted Zach).  His strained relationship with daughter Danielle and time spent late at night talking to those watching on the live feeds endeared him to many.  Much like Will in BB2, there was a bit of an attitude in the house that Dick could be voted out easily, however it proved to be harder than expected.   

Second Season Notes: Dicks second stint on Big Brother was short lived, he left for personal reasons before the live feeds had even begun.  Dick also recently tweeted that he would never be on Big Brother again. Update: Dick has revealed that he left this season after conflicting blood tests he took before the season showed he might have HIV - he has since been formely diagnosed with HIV and is on medication.

 

Dan Gheesling (Seasons 10,14)

First Season Notes: 13 HGs in BB10, HoH 3 times, nominated 2 times, POV winner 2 times, won against Memphis Garrett 7-0.

Dan’s winning season honestly was not that spectacular.  He managed to manipulate some folks but it was his personality and ‘charm’ that won him over with America.  He was “America’s player” and competed a few tasks to win extra money – one task involved getting hugs from the other HGs and he often gave a nod & wink at the camera when getting the hugs.  His alliance with Memphis ultimately got him to then end when Memphis saved him from the nomination block on week 8.  Dan’s 7-0 victory is the only unanimous victory in the show’s history.

Second Season Notes: HoH once, nominated 3 times, POV won once, lost to Ian Terry 6-1.  Actually unlike all the other members of this list, Dan broke in to my ‘top’ list with his performance on Big Brother 14. While having an advantage of being an alumnus and thus the subject of some “hero worship,” Dan still managed to manipulate the other HGs, especially Danielle Murphree.  His now infamous “Funeral” will remain one of the best known moments in Big Brother, yet he still lost 6-1 to Ian showing that the “manipulation” style of game seems to only works once for any given HG in Big Brother.   

 

Derrick Levasseur (Season 16)

Season Notes: 16 HGs in BB16, only nominated once (technical nomination at final 3), HoH 2 twice (3 if pre-BoB HoH’s included), no POV wins, won 7-2 vs Cody Calafiore.

The newest addition to my list, Derrick used manipulation as well as or better than any other previous houseguest to keep himself safe and get others in his various alliances to do what he wanted while they would end up thinking it was their own idea.  His game was one of many many small moves, not big bold ones.  Even when something went wrong with what seemed to be his plan, he was able to adjust and move forward.  He worked very hard to keep the drama low in the house which led to a somewhat ‘dull’ season.  It also helped him that Donny Thompson, his biggest adversary early on, was in “Team America” with him along with another strong social player Frankie Grande.  While we will never know how his game might have been changed without Team America, it’s likely he still would have done very well.  It says a lot for his game that even though he lost Part 3 of the final HoH competition and his fate rested with fellow “Hitman” Cody, he still made it to the final two when Cody picked him.

 

Honorable Mention – these folks are the ‘almost but not quite’ in my list.  If any came back and managed to win either for the first time or again – I’d might have to move them up.

Janelle Pierzina – Three Big Brother season appearances (6,7, and 14) hard to not put here in the list but she never even made the final two (final three twice).  She was a great competitor and a fan favorite.  She was the victim of an unlucky break in Big Brother 7 when she was eliminated from the final HoH endurance competition on a technicality that I still think was a mistake by Julie Chen.  However she had the chance to win Part II and lost that to eventual winner Mike Boogie and thus never had a chance to win BB7.

Mike “Boogie” Malin – Another houseguest with three seasons (2,7, and14) I personally wasn’t extremely impressed with Mike’s ‘game’ but others feel he deserves to be considered a top player.  Mike had Will on both season’s 2 & 7 to help him out and on season 14 he was a ‘coach’ for the first few weeks and had an advantage in just being a well-known player and having the advantage of “hero worship” by some of the rookie houseguests.

Ian Terry – very good player that won the game in Season 14.  Was carried along by others in the early part of his season.  Would have to come back and have a stellar second season like Dan did in order to make my top player list.

Rachel Reilly – I have to admit my bias here.  I was never a fan of Rachel in the house.  I didn’t like her personality while playing so she would really have to do something special to turn me around.  I have always felt that production had a very heavy hand with Season 13 & this helped Rachel tremendously.  The “Hero Worship” factor again played a role in Season 13 as six of the 14 houseguests were very well known alumni.

 

Nowhere near the top - even though some want them to be, these people didn’t show me enough in their season(s) to warrant being in my list.  Many are just fan favorites, not top tier players.

Jeff & Jordan – They didn’t do anything that spectacular – “America” just loves them.  I do think production wanted Jeff to win Season 11 (saved via the Coup d'etat) but when he went out 6th Jordan, whom Jeff had been carrying along in the game, became the new favorite to win.  When both returned in BB13 they went out 7th (after the infamous "clown shoes" incident) and 4th.  Nice folks, but not great BB players. Getting engaged in the back yard doesn't move them up my list either ;)

Kaysar Ridha – Another fan favorite that was so well like I think production changed the game in Big Brother 6 to get him back in the house.  He promptly was voted right back out after letting Jennifer Vasquez win HoH after a 14 hour competition (longest in BB history). Came back for BB7 and still did nothing (but seems like a nice guy!).

Hayden Moss – His alliance got him to the end, it was a total team effort (I thought Lane should have won that season).

I could go on and on….. but I won’t.  Sorry if I missed your favorite!

Other thoughts when compiling lists: Lists are always interesting, I know there will be many that will disagree with me and that’s ok.  One thing to keep in mind is that it’s VERY hard to compare HGs across seasons.  Every season has its own dynamics and advantages, disadvantages.  As we discussed on our last Big Brother Gossip Show for BB16, Derrick would have had a much tougher go of it in the BB15 house with the likes of Amanda, Andy and Hellen whom all might have seen through Derricks game a bit more than those in the BB16 house.  What was a great game in one season might not be even a good one in another.  I don’t think any of my top five will ever be able to win another season of Big Brother for that very reason.

Thursday
Sep252014

Big Brother 16 Season Finale Results - The $450K Mistake

Cody makes an unconvincing argument to jurors as to why he, rather than Derrick, should win.By ignoring the "rules," Cody lost $450,000 in last night's Big Brother 16 season finale. Let's all turn to page 37 of the handbook, shall we? See right there in the middle of the page? It says "Be loyal to the alliance(s) you've made ... right up until loyalty is bad for your game. When that happens, be disloyal, deceitful, and/or duplicitous. Because this is a game, and you're here to win!"

The only scenario in which Derrick would not have won the grand prize would have been for Cody to become the final HOH and have chosen to evict Derrick. The jury would not have picked Victoria over Cody. Most house guests never especially liked her, and it was obvious to the jury that Victoria was allowed to stay in the game only because she was completely inept at competitions. A couple of jurors might have thrown a sympathy vote Victoria's way, but the majority would have awarded Cody the half-mil. It would have been an easy win.

Cody did beat Derrick in part 3 of the final HOH comp -- it even required the tie-breaker question. But for reasons which evade all logic and common sense, Cody evicted Victoria! And then the jury did exactly what we've predicted pretty much all season: They voted overwhelmingly (7-2) for Derrick over Cody. Derrick won the $500,000 grand prize (not to mention a thoroughly ridiculous Team America bonus prize of an additional $50K).

As the runner-up, Cody won a mere $50,000. Cody, Cody, Cody. What were you thinking?!

Left: Final HOH part 2 comp, a physical + memory test; Derrick needed only 15 minutes, Victoria took twice as long. Right: Final HOH part 3 comp, a mental test; Cody beat Derrick in tie-breaker.

Congratulations to Derrick. He was the master analyst, strategist, and manipulator from Day 1.

By the way, once again this is John writing, not Scott -- so this isn't one of Scott's play-by-play recaps but just a summary of the episode's results.

Julie prepares to announce who won America's Favorite Player. Notice that Media Mogul positioned himself exactly where he'd get the most camera time. Typical.Zach would have been my choice for favorite, deserving of some reward for all the Team American manipulation he unwittingly endured. But I'm not unhappy Donny got it. Good guy.After Julie announced that Derrick won, the only remaining drama was to find out which house guest won America's Favorite Player and its $25,000 prize. Over 10 million votes were cast, Julie said, the most in Big Brother history.

If Julie had one true surprise for us in the #BB16 90-minute live finale, it was this: The three house guests who received the most votes from fans were ... Donny, Nicole, and Zach!

FRANKIE WAS SHUT OUT! I was absolutely astonished! So much for being Ariana's brother! 

With more than 5 million votes, America's Favorite Player is ... Donny!

So that's it! Big Brother 16 is officially over. Not to worry -- CBS has already announced that Big Brother has been renewed for two more seasons.

Meanwhile, want to see how they do it overseas? Big Brother Australia's 2014 season just got started a couple weeks ago. I've been watching #BBAU for the first time and am finding it to be highly entertaining. It's very different from the CBS version -- actually, it's more accurate to say that the CBS version is the unusual one, as #BBAU's format is the one predominant around the world. I'll be writing more about #BBAU here soon, but check out IndyMike's #BBAU 2014 playlist right here.

A couple more #BB16 finale photos:

Newly declared #BB16's winner, Derrick exits the house.Media Mogul realizes that he's not even one of America's top three favorite house guests.Thanks, everybody, for reading Big Brother Gossip all season long! As usual, there will be occasional semi-relevant posts during the off-season. And of course we'll be back for #BB17.

I did appreciate Derrick's game skills. Unfortunately, there just wasn't anybody else in the house who could come close to playing like that! No competing alliances of substance formed. Julie repeatedly asked evicted house guests who was running the house, and time after time (until Donny) they had no clue it was Derrick. This made the live feeds rather boring week after week, and the TV episodes were wholly predictable. My hope for next season is for drama! Several strong, strategic game players to form multiple, competing alliances! NO STUNT CASTING!! Any and all comments about #BB16, #BBAU, and/or your hopes for #BB17 are welcome in the comments below or @uselesstraffic.

Wednesday
Sep242014

Guide to the #BB16 Season Finale

What Derrick has wanted in this game, Derrick has eventually gotten. Now he wants the grand prize. It's difficult to think of a scenario in which he wouldn't get the required five jury votes. The only apparent obstacle to a #BB16 win for Derrick is Cody, who would have to do two things:

  • Cody has to win part 3 of the final HOH comp, giving him the power to evict one of the two other remaining house guests.
  • And Cody would have to be disloyal to Derrick, recognizing that he (Cody) has a better chance of winning if he takes Victoria to the final two rather than Derrick. (The jury would reward Cody for his comp wins and for being a generally likable guy; they've never been enamoured with Victoria. But Cody versus Derrick? The jury has more reasons to vote for Derrick.)

Cody certainly has a great shot at becoming the season's final HOH. He hasn't shown any willingness this season to make big moves when he had the power -- but evicting Derrick would be the biggest move of all, and doing so would be absolutely essential to Cody's game. Will Cody do it? In a predictable season which revolved around Derrick, which produced no competing alliances (like #BB15's allies of Amanda vs. allies of Helen), and in which the producers' twists resulted in no significantly-changed outcomes, will Cody finally treat viewers to something unexpected in the #BB16 season finale?

We find out tonight (Wednesday, September 24, 2014) at 9:30p Eastern during a live broadcast (tape delayed on the west coast). Here's how the show might play out.

- Julie's brief show intro.

- A couple minutes of clips from the entire season.

- Julie talks about what's coming up during the 90-minute finale while they show the final three sitting in the living room. For at least the third year in a row (I didn’t research further back than #BB14), the finalists consist of two men and one woman.

- The conclusion of Part 1 of the three-part final Head of Household competition (recorded last Wednesday night live on the feeds, and a portion shown in last Friday’s TV episode), with related clips and Diary Rooms. As usual, it was an endurance comp. Victoria lost early on; Derrick and Cody discussed for a few minutes who would have the better chance of winning the next part, and then Derrick dropped off the wall. So Cody won part 1.

- Part 2 of the HOH comp (recorded last Friday), again with clips and DRs. Footage of part 2 has not been aired yet. You know from the Ticker graphic at right that Derrick won over Victoria, likely ending Victoria’s chance at winning any monetary prize. Part 2 is typically a combination physical / mental comp, e.g. hunt for objects representing each house guest, then place those objects in a specific order requiring accurate memory.

- Clips from the past few days of the three house guests posturing and/or scheming about who will be taking whom to the final two. (Cody has a seemingly unbreakable alliance with Derrick. Victoria also believes she has an alliance with Derrick, but only an HOH win would have cemented any real power for her. My dream that Victoria had been throwing every competition all season long to surprise us in the three-part final HOH comp was ... Yeah, maybe in some other universe.)

- Dr. Will returns to host the jury's "round table" discussion. We'll see jury reactions to Frankie's and Caleb's evictions. (Or does the Dr. Will segment happen slightly earlier in the finale? At any rate, Dr. Will, winner of #BB2, makes an appearance with the #BB16 jury.)

- Part 3 of the final HOH competition between Derrick and Cody airs live -- everything is live from this point on. It will be a memory quiz of some sort, and the winner is guaranteed at least second place in #BB16 and a $50,000 prize.

- The HOH winner will evict one of the other two. Derrick and Cody have a “final two alliance” called the Hit Men, so the expectation here is that they will remain (blindly) loyal to it and evict Victoria, regardless of who becomes HOH.

- The evictee leaves the house and is interviewed by Julie.

- Julie introduces each of the jurors as they reenter the studio and talks with them a bit. Julie reveals that Victoria (unless something highly unexpected happens) is the last evictee.

- The jurors chat with the final two.

- The finalists each make one last “why I deserve this” speech.

- Each juror steps forward to say a word or three to the finalists ... and to cast his/her vote. In previous years, the juror inserted one of two keys (each key has a finalist's name on it) into slots in a box to vote; not sure whether they will have come up with a different way to vote this year since they had revamped the weekly nomination “mechanism.”

- We might have a visit from non-jury house guests (those evicted early in the season).

- Then the big moment arrives: Julie reveals each juror's vote ... and the #BB16 winner is announced! Five votes are needed to decide the $500,000 grand prize winner.

- The winner comes out of the house and is embraced by family, friends, and fellow house guests. (And the runner-up comes out, too.)

- Finally, Julie reveals America's favorite house guest, winner of $25,000. We are hoping Zach wins since he so often was the unwitting pawn who helped Team America score some dough. But it’s difficult to imagine that the producers’ stunt casting of Frankie, with his pop star sister’s millions of fans, won’t have caused the ballot box to be stuffed here.

That’s how tonight’s live season finale might go. Thanks very much for reading Big Brother Gossip again this year! We all appreciate that you’re here.

I’m working on at least one more post for this season, coming in the next few days, which compares Big Brother Australia 2014 to what I’ve seen in #BB15 and #BB16. Please stay tuned! Meanwhile, what are your overall impressions of Big Brother 16? What would had to have happened for somebody else to win? Did the season unfold as you expected? Comment below or @uselesstraffic.