Power housemate format likely
Housemates will have rotating influence over nominations
25 August 2014
This 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.
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…
There’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.