Here is a LONG post I've been adding to over the last several weeks. First some things about this season of Big Brother and then more general information about the ways production can influence the HGs or the game.
I started this a right before Amanda’s eviction so take that into account (yes it took me ages to write this).
Show connections, casting, recruiting:
Amanda is not 'friends' with Alison Grodner (BB Executive Producer) and was not 'recruited' to be on Big Brother. I heard (via the twitter grapevine) that during the baseball HoH competition Amanda said she knew one of the 'production' people that was throwing the balls at them. Amanda DID previously work in LA so its possible she saw someone she knew from her past life when she was trying to become a star. Amanda was not 'pre-destined' to win Big Brother 15 (As we saw she was evicted and not because the 'secret' plot was posted on facebook 2 months ago).
On the other hand, Elissa IS at the very least acquainted with Alison Grodner and was recruited to be on Big Brother by CBS.
With the exception of Kaitlin who said she was approached to apply while bartending - the other HGs seemed to have all applied. Aaryn's agency may have applied on her behalf or encouraged her to apply but you get my point, the only members that were 'cast' for this season were Elissa and Kaitlin and they were two very different situations. Helen also was not 'cast' but that goes in a different conspiracy (mini update - someone tells me Candice has said she was sort of recruited - so toss her into the mix as well).
Helen was not a CBS plant and did NOT 'throw' the HoH competition where she fell off the platform. Why she would quit the game right when she had a chance to get back in is beyond reason to me. How much could CBS have paid her to give up a shot at $500k? And I come to that conclusion without even watching the "live" video (and not the 5 second copy floating around) - its very obvious she simply lost her balance and jumped off. GO back – watch the last 2-3 minutes before she fell – you could see how she was struggling. No pushing or 'tapping.' Candice also lost her balance and fell off just a few moments later.
Money: Yes the HGs are PAID for their time on Big Brother. The Hgs last season and this season have implied they now get about $1,000 a week while in sequester, the BB house, and Jury House (the number $13,000 has been tossed around a lot by the HGs when talking - BB is about 13 weeks). In the previous seasons the number was always said to be about $750 per week. Alumni are believed to GET MORE. I think the 'coaches' last season had separate contracts with as the very least a guaranteed minimum they would get to come back on the show. I also believe Elissa is being paid much more than the other HGs this season because of her connection with her sister Rachel.
Who’s actually been fired?
As of this writing, 9/16/2013, the only two CONFIRMED people that have lost their jobs are Aaryn and GinaMarie. Keep in mind that Aaryn was simply dropped by her agency – she considers herself a college student. GinaMarie’s job couldn’t have been that much of a full time gig since she was able to take off the entire summer. Actually EVERY house guest this season was not fully employed (Spencer being the one exception) – they all were part timers or between jobs.
Rumored job losses are just that – false rumors.
Spencer has not lost his job, he took a leave of absence before starting Big Brother – I believe he is off until the beginning or end of October – they can’t ‘fire’ him – I don’t think he will lose his job no matter what but nothing will happen either way until he is back on the job. He is a union member and you can be sure that they will work their tails off to keep him from losing his job and that is if the company even feels it has a reason to fire him (again, I don’t think he is in any danger of losing his job).
Andy is listed on the show as a “College Professor” but that is a HUGE stretch (one made by CBS in my opinion and not Andy). In reality Andy has done stints with a SMALL college in the Chicago area (a two-year community college) as a “Part Time” instructor. Folks that means he may have his Masters degree at best and they paid him to teach one or two classes a semester. He said in the house that he couldn’t go back to that job if he was still in the house after a certain point. The college put out a statement saying he is not employed by them BECAUSE HE ISN’T – not because he was ‘fired.’ Huge difference.
Amanda’s name has also been tossed out as having lost her job. Amanda’s most recent occupation before Big Brother was / is as a Realtor. Having done this type of work for a couple of years myself I can tell you that it’s not a job you can be fired from. You are your OWN boss. At best you work for a broker but you are paid on commission only and if a broker were to drop you, you could just walk down the street to another broker and sign up with them.
These are all rumors stirred up by people looking to generate traffic to their websites. Go to trusted sources only for your info.
And now some more general Big Brother stuff about competitions and such…
Certain competitions favor certain Hgs:
Production CAN, to some extent, control the 'game' if they choose to (I'm not saying they always do - but sometimes we sure wonder). CBS does EXTENSIVE 'testing' of applicants - they know each one's strengths and weaknesses.
Hanging competitions WILL favor lighter & smaller framed Hgs (same goes on Survivor - see who lasts the longest when they hang over water - 90% of the time its the small women). Yes McCrae won the first competition that involved hanging but he also said later he has the body of a woman (yes he said that).
If a certain Hgs is good at memorizing, then perhaps production would choose a important week for that HG to give the house a competition involving memorization. Example? BB14 Ian claimed to have a photographic memory and won a critical competition near the end of his season that required a good memory (As a side note BB15 Jeremy said he had a "photoshop" memory - poor guy).
Ask Brendon about competitions that favor people with SMALL feet (standing on a ledge?). Balance can also play a huge factor. I said it on the night of the baseball competition this season that Elissa had a HUGE advantage with her yoga background as she was able to grab balls and maintain her balance while others struggled to do both.
Comps that involve cold/wet conditions may favor HGs with more 'body fat' because they won't lose their body temperature as quickly.
Drugs? Its hard to argue about the talk in the house this season of certain HGs being on ADD meds or Xanax and that it might help or hurt them in competitions depending on when they were given. Some HGs feel that certain comps were slated to take place when these HGs were at their 'best' from the meds they happen to be on (Aaryn, Amanda and Judd all are taking medications - others might be as well). I for one doubt it gave any 'advantage' but at best evened the playing field.
Production giving certain ‘lanes’ an advantage? In theory the way the Hgs line up for competitions is done by a ‘random’ draw – but we never see the draw so we can only guess how that works (if any former HG wants to chime in and tell me they think its always legit – please do!). What we do know is there have been several times in the recent years where things have seemed to be set up to ‘help’ a favorite to win that POV or HoH when it was needed. Two quick examples would be:
1: The ‘clown shoe’ competition (BB13) that Jeff lost because he accidently tossed out a clown shoe that was seemed very close to the top of the ‘bouncy balls’ he had to dig though. Had he seen it he would have beaten Porsche by a huge margin and would have stayed in the game (so this is viewed by many as a attempt to influence the game that failed).
2: The reward/penalty POV competition this season where Elissa got the most points and won the POV when she needed it most. After the competition the HGs commented on how all the high numbers were on one side of the ‘mud pit’ – the side that Elissa was on. As a matter of facet the top three places were from one side of the mud pit. Once has to wonder how Elissa, who would most likely have been voted out had she not won, was selected for that lane – or were the numbers places in the pit AFTER lane selection?
Power of Veto Selection:
The Power of Veto was introduced in BB3. It has gone through several changes. It was introduced as a way to give the nominations a chance to be changed up. Originally everyone played – then the number was limited. In Big Brother 5, Nakomis came up with the plan to “backdoor” Jase by not nominating him and NOT letting him play for the POV. This eventually led to the addition of the “Wheel” to select players which only lasted 2 episodes during Big Brother 7. They then moved to the ‘bag’ that names were drawn from. This bag has raised all kinds of questions and theories. Most of the time the HGs are NOT allowed to dump out the bag after selecting names to verify all names are there (yes they did dump it out at least once last season). We just have no way to know for sure that the current name selection process to play for POV is legit.
Coup d’Etat, Pandora’s Box:
Because there is no rhyme or reason to when the things happen, most hard core fans agree the Coup d'Etat & Pandora's Box are only vehicles used by production to help certain players (or just for entertainment value when no special powers are awarded with Pandora).
The Coup d’etat, where the holder gets to whipe out current nominations and make his/her own at a moment’s notice, has only been awarded twice – the first time Mike Boogey won it and didn’t use it (since his alliance was in power those two weeks) – the second time Jeff won it and used it to save himself (we felt it was used that season for this very reason - to keep Jeff in the game).
Pandora’s box is often just sillyness – but since there is no set rules on what the award / penalty is – or if it’s just a ‘for fun’ thing – production can announce it ahead of time and change how it is presented depending on who is the HoH at the time – thus having the chance to majorly influence the game.
Diary Room ‘Influence’
Every season we hear the Hgs talk about the “DR” wanting things – or not wanting things. I’ve always felt that the Diary Room is where production can work on the HGs mindsets and, by asking certain questions, get them to think in certain ways. They can also brow beat a houseguest into thinking about nominating or not nominating someone by presenting may many alternative options while asking those leading questions. I’ve talked about this one enough in previous seasons and actually this year I didn’t feel it happened as much – except perhaps when we thought Howard was going to get nominated by MVP Elissa and instead she put up Spencer. Helen, Elissa and others all felt like the DR was pushing very hard to NOT have Howard go up that week (and he didn’t).
And there you have it. A HUGE post about loads of rumors, gossip, speculation and a few facts tossed in for fun. I may or may not post again this season but in case I don’t – thanks for sticking with us or finding us this year. Assuming there is a Big Brother 16 we will be back reporting all over again. And yes we will probably have some ‘favorites’ but in the end I probably won’t care who wins – just like I don’t care who wins this season.
-Mike aka ‘indy mike’ aka @bbgossip