Will the dust now settled on this years’ big comeback and the waiting game for news on the future of the series, Ex Housemates are still fulfilling media commitments. Continue reading “Media: Missing The Point?”
So, ladies and gentlemen, the finale night of the first Big Brother Australia series in 4 years is nearly upon. Who can believe it has been three whole months since the all-seeing being made a triumphant return to our television screens? I know I can’t. Continue reading “The Final Countdown Looms.”
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Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment we have waited for the past four long years is FINALLY upon us. 7o’clock this Monday evening our favorite reality show finally bursts back onto our screens. So I thought there is no better time than right here, right now to dish my opinions on the pre-series run up and some of the information we’ve been hearing.
However before I launch into my thoughts, let me introduce myself. I’m RK. This may be my first time blogging about my beloved native version of Big Brother, but for those of you who follow the UK edition of the show, you may have seen my weekly blogs on the goings on in Britain’s most famous bungalow at some point over the last four years. But for the next three months the brits get a rest from my examining and now it’s Australia’s turn. I couldn’t be more excited. But that’s enough about me let’s get down to business shall we?
The news that the show was returning took me like many others by complete surprise. Part of me thought it was nine idea of joke, but to my relief it was absolutely true and here we are today with only a few hours left till it reappears! What a journey this pre-season has been.
Sonia’s appointment as host Initially came as shock to many viewers when it was revealed but now that viewers have seen her in a different light with her new role on Mornings I think she has become relatively well liked, and the reports I’m hearing from the launch taping the crowds have reacted well to her. I was certainly one of those in the beginning that had my doubts, but after interacting with her via twitter and seeing mornings I am eager to see what she brings to the table! It should be interesting…
One of the really interesting points for me about this whole reboot is how much people despite production announcing that this reboot would differ from anything we’ve seen before, seem to be stuck in the past, especially those folk that are posting on the main Facebook page. I for one, beg to differ with the majority of comments from fans about the fact that if the show doesn’t have the various elements channel ten made famous with the show it will flop, I think the four year absence is the perfect chance to change the series and give it a completely new lease of life.
However, one thing I am not so happy about changing, is the live feed. After hearing so much how the producers wanted a “pure” BB for this reboot, to ditch the feed is basically laughing in the face of this way thinking, not to mention the fans. But the biggest failing with this however is that it has not and appears like it won’t be officially announced to fans. It was initially revealed only via a tweet to one of the many fans asking about the feed. In my opinion this is simply not good enough, for the fans of the show to be able to relate to a housemate and get to know them fully we need more half an hour a day and some very unreliable updates via twitter. The twitter system has already proven itself unreliable for fans as we’ve all see during the launch taping when it took 19 minutes until the “live” account was updated after it’s first initial tweet. So it will be interesting to see how the social networking plan is put into place for the run of the series if tonight is any indication.
Live feed aside however I am quite pleased with how Big Brother have gone about their first phase of the reboot. The advertising campaign was a clever move on the production side, bring a song that was widely known in pop culture and tying it to the show, with a second hidden layer when the housemates were in lockdown, that judging by twitter took everyone by surprise and has really help amp the excitement levels amongst the general fan community. It is clear that channel nine have put some serious cash behind this show, the advertising campaign being one of them and the other being the house.
The house for this years show is nothing short of amazing. Even though the blueprints were leaked during the run-up to launch when I saw the photos today I have to admit I was nothing short of blown away. The attention to detail really shows in the preview photos and I cannot wait to see it on screen. When compared with previous houses for the show I seriously believe that this the best house we’ve had. It will be very interesting to she how the various quirky elements (e.g., the clown in the kitchen.) work themselves into the show, and how the housemates react in such a strange environment that is so different to anything Australia has seen before.
Even with what has been a slight hiccups we’ve had along the way, there has still been some really positive signs about the series so I am still holding out hope that the show is still ironing out it’s wrinkles and finding it’s feet in a new age. But I guess we shall all see what comes in the next few weeks and months. I as a diehard BB fan really do hope it succeeds and manages to be the great show we all know it can be. But I tell you what I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you as we find out. It’s going to be fun, I think! Don’t you?
I’ll see you again soon when I divulge my thoughts on our new friends who we’ll be sharing our living rooms with for the next three months! I can’t wait!
‘Til Next Time,
Also on Behind Big Brother
Don’t deny you were a little excited when you heard Big Brother was returning. While unconvincingly groaning “oh, not again” along with the rest of Australia, your mind was quietly doing ecstatic backflips and dancing in glee for your revived 7pm weekday obsession. In the past few weeks you may have even come out of the closet and announced: “mum, dad… I’m going to the Big Brother auditions and I’m proud!”
Most of us BB fanatics don’t have enough sideboob to be audition material, so we hit the internet and begin speculating what the new season will have instore. A revived show, new host and new broadcast channel, you can’t help but thinking Nine have something revolutionary and grand in store…
Unlikely. Last decade we learnt Big Brother in Australia is not the type of show to take a whole lot of chances; it’s very by-the-book. Much of the variation came in small tweaks sprinkled here and there – the occasional D-grade celebrity, a cheesy live games show, yet another intruder – but for the most part BB stayed ‘true to heart’ and suffered the consequences of an ageing TV format.
But that was four years ago… can we even remember the show in detail? Some fairly intelligent programming executives at Southern Star and Channel Nine know our fading memory is becoming nostalgia, and a fantastically cheap way to drum up ratings is to reboot a show with a proven formula. There’s a two part benefit to this approach: the older viewers who were hooked on the original series are drawn in through nostalgic curiosity, and the younger viewers now coming of age and want so badly to be part of the show. Take a look through the official Big Brother Facebook page and there’s a very clear theme coming through: hundreds of applicants in the 18-24 age bracket, enthusiastically declaring “I watched Big Brother when I was a kid and now I’m old enough I wanna be on the show!!!!!!” omg.
Which is another Australian BB hallmark: the bogan and barbie complex. Ditsy blonde girls who “tell it like it is”, and the “I’m just a typical bloke” bogans. These characters dominated multiple series of the last Big Brother and by all Facebook indication they’re making a comeback in 2012. They’re just dynamite for those much needed hot-tub-funny-story-about-this-time-I-hooked-up-with-this-crazy-chick-in-a-nightclub-cubicle chats that are precious footage for Big Brother Uncut. (They’re a guilty pleasure of mine as well).
That’s not to say the bogan and barbie housemates aren’t entertaining, or endearing – but you need to get the casting right. Really right. And this brings us back to the flipside of my argument: the new host Sonia Kruger told media early on in production that the new season will be character focused:
“They’re looking for people who don’t have an agenda and people who don’t see themselves as TV types. Interesting, warm, engaging people. We … want people with life experience.”
Fantastic if the production company stick to their word – this is exactly the original character driven Big Brother formula we came to love in the early seasons of the show. Casting is so important, and if done right the usual ‘same old Big Brother’ will provide the entertainment cheesy that Friday Night Live shows could not. So in keeping optimistic of the rebooted season, I say bring on the same old Big Brother, bring interesting and engaging people to our TV screens. Just make sure they have a brain.
Also on Behind Big Brother
It’s been four years since the show I’d grown to love, then hate, was taken off Australian television screens indefinitely. At the time I was part confused – what would I do with my spare time from March-July next year? – but mostly thankful. The show had been sent express courier to the Isle of Trash, the format wasn’t being refreshed each season, the housemates were the same Barbies and Kens, and let’s not even go near the train wreck new hosts. I always thought to myself “it’ll be back some day.” When it was announced that Nine had acquired the rights from Southern Star I got excited. This could be the format’s second life; maybe they’ll do it right.
Like many people the show Big Brother was exciting to me because there was nothing quite like it on our television screens. Unlike other reality TV shows the audience were given the opportunity to get to know the housemates, albeit through the lens of a camera, an executive producer and management team, and some clever video and audio cuts. These people, after all, are humans just like me. The idea of a large-scale social experiment plastered on television was exciting, I was genuinely interested in the anthropological side of things. That was until the format became hugely popular and the only people auditioning were those with washboard abs looking for a career in radio. I recall heading along to auditions the year I turned 18 and I was disgusted by the type of people there, the type of people I may have to spend months watching on television, writing about on this website.
During the last few seasons I was completely jaded. Listening back to podcasts that Tim and I did at the time are proof of that. We would end up rattling on about our own lives and not the show, I stopped watching it all together. My only relation to the show was through this website and community we had created, and seeking out gossip from inside the compound to share with our readers. I reveled in receiving frustrated emails from the then executive producer, constantly baffled as to how we were getting our information. From our point of view, we were keeping people interested in a show that was suffering – the viewers were dropping, the show had jumped the shark.
We, the fans, are older now. Are Channel Nine going to pitch the show to us, a new generation of viewers, or do they have enough cash and freedom to try it out for a year and see how it goes? Nine are known for destroying any reality TV format they touch, but viewers are flocking to The Voice and I can only guess they’re hoping it will raise their profile just in time for Big Brother to kick off. The format is expensive to put on and needs the support of advertisers to buy in to the sheer amount of air time it gets in prime time most days of the week.
Even though the logo looks like it was crafted in MS Paint and is a cartoon representation of someone fresh from two lines of MDMA off a toilet seat and the only marketing we’ve seen thus far (“all of the housemates will have a secret”) leave a lot to be desired, I’m confident.
Also on Behind Big Brother
So the end is nigh – and unless Big Brother has a sugar daddy waiting in the wings, this time it really could be the end. I can’t say I was surprised, and in it’s current state the show really did need to be put out of it’s misery rather than remaining on life support for another couple of years.
Having said that though I do believe that alot has been learnt from this season and in a similar way to how Kris Noble took a year before putting his stamp on the format with the changes made in BB05, BB09 could have been a turning point for the franchise once again now that Rory and Virginia had a season under their belt – but only if Ten gave them the freedom to make the changes required, even if it did leave a two-hour hole in their Friday night schedules.
So let’s take a look back at the positives – and not so positives – of the last few months.
- The Hand Grenades – by far the best innovation to the format this year which after seven years finally gave a point to the goodbye videos.
- The Kombi – a simple, but genius twist. It’s success though is all down to Nobbi – I’m not sure it would have worked as well with any other housemate.
- No cars – I know some people think no prizes means the producers are doing things on the cheap, but I’ve never understood the logic in rewarding that weeks most hated housemate.
- Ignore the Obvious – it’s the task which broke virtually every BB rule in the book, but it was worth it.
- The Big U Turn – admitting defeat over the new eviction process was when this series really kicked into gear. Without the nominations it simply wasn’t Big Brother.
- Kyle and Jackie O – I’m probably in the minority here, but think how much worse this series would have been with Gretel, or god forbid, Mike Goldman, at the helm.
- Ollie – the clear winner of the series.
- Terri. Of all the 53-year olds they could have chose, they chose her. It didn’t work at all for the first few weeks when she was the only housemate over 30 – but worst of all is the fact that she’s been the chosen one from the very beginning. First housemate revealed in the promos, a first night twist based around protecting the oldie and weekly pleas from Kyle to keep “Nanna Terri” in.
- The Gatecrashers. The web vote was a great idea and executed incredibly well – but it was all for nothing and an absolute insult not only to those who voted, but to those who had made the effort to audition online too. As usual too the viewers were taken completely for granted too, with producers believing it’s fine to tell them one day that the three “web mates” are fully fledged housemates, and then kick two of them out a couple of days later and pretend they never existed.
- The prize twist. They say the best ideas are usually thought up down the pub. Obviously the producers this year are tea-total. Or were at least.
- The revolver room. It was bad in week one, but even worse in following weeks when they tried to create the illusion that HMs rotated directly out of the house to the back of the stage – and failed miserably.
- Big Mouth. It suffered an identity crisis from the very beginning and would have been much better if it had a clear direction as either a panel show or an uncut show – but the two didn’t blend together too well. Having said that though it did allow uncut content to return to the show with zero controversy.
- FNL. Enough said.
More than anything I think this season will be defined by the unwanted influx of “celebrity” guests.
- Corey – To be fair Corey was good value, but it was far too early in the series before anyone knew anything of the original housemates. It was also an insult to the thousands of younger fans prevented from auditioning due to being under-18, and if BB doesn’t come back, they’re not going to get their chance in the future.
- Carson – so bad they did it twice. The most annoying thing about this special though was how they left through at the bottom of the garden and ended up in a room at the other side of the house, plus the numerous unseen stylists the housemates interacted with.
- Hypnotism – actually not a bad show, but it was something that should have been done after the housemates had left, not while the housemates were in the house.
- Pamela Anderson – by far the biggest name they’ve ever had on the show and a seemingly welcome guest – but completely pointless and provided nothing more than a one night ratings boost.
Overall this season hasn’t been the greatest, but I think it escapes the tag as the worst – and most importantly, this year the producers seemed to be willing to make changes as the season progressed which led to a much better second half of the season – and it’s a shame they won’t have the chance to put their lessons into practice next year.
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