Power housemate format likely

Housemates will have rotating influence over nominations

bb-powerThis week’s new Big Brother promo promises a housemate will be given the ultimate power. No need for guesses, it seems the show is taking cues from Big Brother UK.

So what does it mean? This year’s season of Big Brother UK (now finished) was titled “Power Trip” with a housemate or group having special powers over nominations roughly every week.

Significant powers…

The most controversial power was granted at the very beginning of the season, when the UK public was asked to nominate the first ‘power housemate’. Pauline, who was granted the power, was asked by Big Brother to reward one of her fellow new housemates, even though she hadn’t even met them yet.

Pauline gave the reward to housemate Helen, and the reward turned out to be a free pass to the season finale, meaning Helen could not be nominated or evicted until the final night. It was a PR and ratings disaster for UK’s Channel 5 after Helen turned out to be a rude and hated housemate. Worse yet, Helen actually won the series resulting in accusations that Channel 5 rigged the vote.

Another housemate was punished and as a result was automatically nominated every week.

Realistically that situation is unlikely here in Australia, as the BBAU team like to have much more control over what happens in the house. Other BBUK power trips give us a good idea of what is likely:


  • The power housemate (or housemates) have direct influence over who is nominated. They’re usually asked to nominate housemates or remove others’ nominated status, but only after getting to know them over special private meals.
  • Power housemates were occasionally encouraged to spy on their fellow housemates using hidden earpieces and TV screens located in their private upstairs loft.
  • As the season progressed, the number of housemates on the power trip grew. Some weeks it included a pair, another week all of the female housemates had the power. This resulted in conflict about how the power should be exercised.
  • Housemates made power decisions in a special power room, separate from the diary room (accompanying image).
  • In most cases the identity of the power housemate is kept a secret, creating suspicion in the house.

These power trips are similar to the 2008 season of BBAU, where departing housemates were able to throw a nomination hand grenade.

During the past two seasons of Big Brother the producers have made no secret they are fond of borrowing ideas, tasks and twists from their UK counterparts. Even the current BBAU logo has been copied from the UK.

A less likely scenario…

bb-power3There’s also the chance that the power housemate refers to the US format of Big Brother. In this version, a housemate is nominated Head of Household and has direct influence over who is nominated. The structure is much more like Survivor, and houseguests are actively encouraged to constantly compete against each other in physical and mental tasks.

We think the US format is much less likely to happen however. BBAU Executive Producer Alex M has previously made public his disapproval of BBUSA.

Considering BBUK just finished a season called “Power Trip” and BBAU is about to start a season where “one housemate will have the ultimate power”, our cards are on BBAU borrowing generously from our UK friends.

Also on Behind Big Brother

15 Replies to “Power housemate format likely”

  1. If that’s what they’re doing then this season already sounds terrible! The first ever season was the best with minimal interference from BB, I love BB but some years they manipulate the housemates so much it’s unbearable to watch.

  2. *sigh* why do they have to go overboard with manipulating nominations and all that carry on?! Give them tasks and Friday night games and show them having fun. The very best seasons of BB were the first few before the show got so bitchy and controversial.

  3. Thanks for this, i couldn’t be bothered wading through the forum thread.

    I just don’t really see how this will be any different than the variations of nomination super powers we’ve had before.

  4. I didn’t mind the ‘power trip’ twist in BBUK. In fact, it isn’t all that different from our nominations superpowers.

    Even if they do the ‘free pass’ to the finale, I’m sure it would get reversed. I was actually impressed that UK did let it stand right to the end. In our version, they could have removed Helen for ‘bad behaviour’ if it really was that bad, PR wise. She broke the rules on many occasions.

    Tim Dormer received a text message from Alex M whilst he was doing a Q&A sesh on BehindBB basically confirming that it is not the US style HOH gameplay.

    I just hope that the twist spoken about on the OS isn’t this. They said there was a twist that has never been done in any version of BB worldwide. I’m ok when they say never before seen on BB, when what they mean is BBAU. But if they specifically say never done on ANY international BB, I’m hoping for some thing else, uniquely new!

  5. Also sounds like the kind of power The Insider Michael had in 2006. The sooner Channel Nine realise there are no more original ideas for BB the better. Then they can just focus on promoting the experience, not the basic boring twists.

  6. Hope it’s not going to be the same power trip as used in the UK. That was the worst decision ever in the history of BB. Taking the power to evict away from the public is never a good idea and giving a free pass to the final is unfair to all the other housemates especially when it results in the most hated, abusive hm actually winning. Ratings suicide!

  7. The problem that I had with the power trip twist form BBUK is that it seemed the producers were making it up as the show went on. The week that Ashley was voted as the PHM and had to start a power alliance, she was told that she and the members of the alliance would have immunity for the week, but by the end of the week the HMs that were nominated by the power alliance were told they could save one of themselves and choose a member of the alliance to face eviction… What the hell happened to having immunity?
    I really do not like the sound of one HM having all the power, it’s really not fair when it should be the public deciding who goes and stays, having said that we still do not have all the details on what this twist will actually entail.
    Last season there was a week where one HM became Housemate of the week or HMOTW, I would not mind that if their duties were to assign chores (Shopper/chef and the BB shop is back) and perhaps get their own room for the week (similar to the US HOH), but that should be as far as their power should go. Remember “Who goes? You decide”

  8. It was on one of the articles on the official website, from memory I can’t remember which one, but it is there….. Somewhere….

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