The Big Axe: Reaction from the blogs

The great thing about our very own Userblogs is when you can’t be bothered writing your own blog, you can just cut and paste someone elses. Unlike certain sections of the media though, we’ll give the credit where credit is due…

So firstly, clairebbbear blames YouTube:

Death by youtube: how generation Y killed Big Brother Australia

Just like death, and taxes, the end of BB was always inevitable.

It would have been nice for BB to have gone out in style, with a dramatic flourish at its execution, but today’s news feels like euthanasia after a prolongued period of suffering, during which the show lost all traces of what it once was.

The post-mortem has not yet been conducted, and I am sure that it will reveal multiple causes of death, ranging from the producers, to the hosts, to the apathy of the audience and the concept as a whole.

But I feel that the actual reason can be traced to a factor that could not have been anticipated back in 2001. That factor is youtube, and more precisely what it offers to the young viewers on whom BB depended.

BB has always been a young person’s show, especially in Australia. The 7pm timeslot, the voyeurism factor, the preference for pretty HMs and the dominance of storylines that belong in the schoolyard all helped BB become required viewing for teenagers and young adults. With the young viewers came sponsors, and in the beginning they were falling over themselves to be involved with a program that spoke to young viewers like no other show.

Then came youtube. It is not a direct rival to BB, but its presence has hung over the show – and in fact channel Ten as a whole – like a curse.

Continue reading and comment…

Meanwhile bb-06 doesn’t blame Jackie O:

My last blog?

Well…I’m guessing this could be my last blog. There’s no ‘next year’ and I’m certainly not wasting my time writing a blog about the final week of this crap series. I’m not even sure I’ll watch. Hell, there’s a Daily Show on now and I have a DVD menu up on my screen.

In my last blog I talked about a couple of positives about BB08 and one of them was Jackie-O. I remember something I read on the internet at the beginning of this year about Jackie-O being the touch of death for television series – naming all the flops she’d been a part of. Well, she’s got another flop to add to her resume but it was not a flop because of her. She was one of the very few positive points about this years Big Brother and while I’m not claiming she had the presence of Gretel – she did have the grace and that little bit of class in this years BB gave it same moments that were worth watching. So take it easy on here.

Kyle, on the other hand, does deserve to be blamed in my stage. If he hadn’t been so keen to act like a total prat and had tried to get some likability about himself – people would have watched. A smile was all that was needed – but it was too much to ask of Kyle ‘All Talk and No Action’ Sandilands. While I very much doubt that Jackie-O reads this site – my advice to her to is to get away from him. Having seen you on stage with Mike and Kyle this year – you’re so much more entertaining when you’re not weighed down with the former. You’ll have a better career without him, if you ask me.

These new producers made a hell of a lot of mistakes – they produced a ‘made to order’ Big Brother this year and I don’t believe that they for one second thought they’d given us something new. Ten is a network without imagination, without the courage to try something new and that’s why it is, and always will be, a network without success. Why they wanted to continue with Kris Noble’s unsuccesful format when they could have picked up where Abbott’s left off and had a successful show is beyond me. These producers made some bad decisions and I said some bad things about them – but at the end of the day I realise they did the best they could to please the fans while keeping within the strict outline set for them.

Yes – the blame for killing Big Brother lies squarely on Ten’s shoulders.

Continue reading and comment…

So what do you think about Big Brother being pulled from the schedules next year – and where did it all go wrong? Post your blog entry here.

As for myself, not surprised at all, and not before time. Perhaps it will return one day, but it’s got to be kept as far away from Ten as physically possible.

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Pamela saves the day

This year, in an attempt to lift ratings, Big Brother has done everything from snap evictions, delayed celebrity guests, intruders, the return of one housemate, and an endless barrage of tactics for the daily shows.

It seems, if the ratings of Pamela’s entrance last night are anything to go by, the real answer was so close yet so far: send in a Playboy bunny with 13 front covers under her breasts, wearing a short skirt and willing to speak candidly about her sexcapades.

Carson kind of worked, but due to the hideous level of cross promotion with his new reality show, the motives were much too clear to the viewers. Viewers don’t want to be barraged with constant voices telling them what to watch and when – they want to be able to make up their own minds.

Peter Powers entrance was so delayed – and everyone already knew the juicy bits – that it wasn’t as popular as the first and was swept under the rug as soon as it happened.

Pamela, however, was a different story. Yes, there was some cross-promotion, but it was subtle and only came from her side, lasted for a few seconds and then was over and done with. With over 1.4 million viewers – coming extremely close to the launch – interest in this season is on the way up and just in time for the finale weeks when everything pieces together.

We’ll see how things go with tonight’s one hour extended show where there are sure to be some more Pamela antics, and FNL on Friday.

… there’s always the possibility that because of Pamela’s sex status every male in Australia tuned in and things will simply fall back down when she leaves.

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BB09: The Rescue Plan

OK, this season hasn’t been the best – in fact, it’s been a challenger for the worst, but at least since they reverted back to the original format it’s felt more like Big Brother again. Nominations, even more so than evictions, are the key part of the format and in the first few weeks of the series the show lost it’s soul. Also to be praised is the lack of Intruders – if we forget the gatecrashers, which I think we all have anyway.

However, if BB09 goes ahead the show needs to be given every chance to succeed – and that means more change is required.


Firstly, and most crucially, the time slot. The extended shows always perform significantly better after 7.30pm, and always seem far more popular too. So the first change is simple – move the weeknight shows to 7.30pm, extending them to an hour. And I’m in no doubt Ten could accommodate such a change considering nominations, midweek specials and FNL have filled the slot for years.


Talking of FNL, it’s an old one but it’s as relevant as ever – FNL is seriously over due a revamp. Firstly, axe Ryan so it’s no longer the BB boys club. Secondly, it’s slashed to an hour (8.30-9.30pm) so it’s straight to the point, rather than full of filler crap. And thirdly, it’s made with the Big Brother fan in mind, not their kids. Most importantly after four years of it being an individual competition the show is completely refocused with a new format and a renewed importance. The link with evictions is also removed.


What that change is depends on the series as a whole – and one tried and tested format would give both FNL, and Big Brother itself, the revamp it requires. Big Brother: The Battle – a revamped house, split into rich and poor, with up to 16 housemates split between the two sides. FNL then becomes the main “Battle” each week as the two sides of the house go head to head to claim their place on the rich side, with hot water, comfy beds and all the luxuries of the house, while the losers face the back to basics lifestyle – to the extreme.

The weekly task is also replaced by a series of ad-hoc challenges taking place randomly throughout the week either for rewards or for individual housemates to swap sides.

The format also allows for the nominations process to be revamped, and there are numerous ways it could be done. Each side of the house could nominate independently, with one from each side going head to head in the eviction vote. Other options include one side winning immunity, or perhaps linking it to the point system so the rich HMs nominations are worth 2 points and the poor HMs worth just the one. Or the nominations process could simply be left as it is, leaving the housemates themselves to decide how loyal to their own side of the house they are.


An absolute must – keep Mike Goldman as far away from them as physically possible. And they should certainly not bring back Gretel. Kyle and Jackie O have had the chance to bed in now and it’s important the show looks to the future, not too the past, so they should remain in charge next year. And them only being available one day a week has actually benefited the show this year, which hasn’t suffered from all the pointless midweek specials we had during Gretel’s final couple of years with the show.

And that’s the starting point to give BB09 a chance – it’s up to those paid to do the job to do the rest.

Any thoughts – comment on my userblog.

Also on Behind Big Brother

Making news this week…

Best experienced in audio form – download the Week 9 Radio show and skip to 46:05

– – –

“Good evening and welcome to this TEN News update, I’m Sandra Sully.

“First tonight, fans and media this week called on the government to step up anti-hoon laws and give police more power to deal with dangerous drivers. This follows an incident on Tuesday where ‘Grey Nomad’ gang members, Terrence and Terri, took the Kombi van joyriding. They attempted to run down several pedestrians, and Terrence could be heard shouting, ‘This is what’s wrong with the youth of Australia today!’ They have not received a strike for their actions.

“Doctors were called into the Big Brother house on Wednesday night to examine Brigitte’s mental welfare. Concerns had been raised throughout the day as Brigitte had gone almost twenty four hours without screaming something at the top of her lungs. She had also failed to call Terrence a ‘weirdo’ al day, despite his repeated attempts at provocation by wearing his sarong. When approached for comment, Terrence replied, ‘what’s sarong with that?’. Housemates then attempted to cite Terrence as an example of why euthanasia should be legalised… and encouraged.

“Another race row hit the house on Thursday morning, as Terri commented during breakfast that her toast ‘wasn’t dark enough’. This prompted some of the younger housemates to tell her she was being racist. Terri defended her actions, while using the opportunity to once again deny she had ever said ‘slit eyes’. Comment was today being sought from Nobbi.

“And lastly, this week’s train task took a controversial turn for the worse yesterday as one housemate was asked to lay down on the train tracks to demonstrate why platform safety rules should be obeyed at all time. Travis has now been removed from the house and placed into intensive care, after the locomotive failed to actually stop at the Bro Town platform and struck him at full speed.

“And that’s it for this TEN News update, from all of us here, have a good night.”

What do you think? Comments very much welcome here

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Strategic voting is back – hurrah!

It’s nice when you get to this end of a Big Brother series and some housemates finally click on that the show show is really, on the inside, a game.

Strategic voting is the easiest way to get in and out of the diary room on nominations day with the least fuss and questioning from Big Brother. “I vote xxx because s/he is my biggest threat.” Signed sealed delivered.

As much as I hate Cherry, it’s clear he’s the one that actually understands what is going on. There’s a taboo around “playing the game” and how it’s unethical and wrong… but I see nothing against it. Playing the game does not mean that you cannot be yourself in that house. You can be yourself and show the true you to all your fellow housemates, and by watching who is evicted and nominated every week you can make judgements on who is the least likely to be evicted / your biggest threat. I see nothing wrong with that.

Voting strategically does make the nominations show boring though – thankfully people like Bridgitte will never catch on and we’ll get dumb answers from her every week until her immature and unadjusted ass is kicked out of the place.

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Why this week should be a triple eviction

Yes, that’s right. A triple eviction. It’s certainly possible, isn’t it?

Look at the setup – there’s only four weeks to go, and ten Housemates left. Six have been placed up for the public vote, making this the perfect week. This series has seen numerous stunts and one-offs intended to spike up ratings, and this would just be another of those. Except it would be a stunt that doesn’t require any butchering of the fundamental BB concept – it would just be a new twist on the traditional BB eviction. More importantly, it would be a huge Australian first!

But how would it be done, with just a one-hour show to play with? I think the key is to maximise the shock to the Housemates. Begin the program as normal, but perhaps with a bit of a rush. The hosts welcome, and we quickly get down to the house for the usual reveal of the eviction twist and newly-nominated Housemates. Kyle and Jackie O have their live cross to the house. Blah, blah, eye twitch, blah. With that done, it’s time to head to our first ad break.

Back live, there is perhaps time for a very quick chat to the friends and family. Can’t go for too long though, because it’s now time for the eviction announcement! No time for the Housemate videos and personal interviews in the Diary Room. We want to boot someone out! And no silly announcement-prerecorded-by-3-minutes deal either, this has to be genuinely live. Kyle & Jackie O again cross to the house, giving the HMs their first inkling that something may be different tonight.

Forget the ‘safe’ announcements, the six evictees stand together and the first eviction call is made – “The next person to be evicted from the house is….” Everyone cries and farewells their departing friend, who disappears into the revolver. And then, immediately, it’s time for #2! BB doesn’t even speak up to call them back to the lounge. They’re still standing around, recovering, when suddenly Kyle & Jackie again appear on the screens and say, as if continuing the same sentence, “and….. the next person to be evicted from the house is….” And with that, another is named! BB instructs him/her to exit immediately, and 30 seconds later, they’re out!

Catching on yet? With no time for the HMs to collect themselves, those much-loved hosts again appear on the plasmas. “AND….. (HMs: “you’re kidding!” “no!” Nobbi: “this is dog, man!”)…the next person to be evicted is…..” and with that, the third is named and sent through the sliding doors of peril. After we gleefully spend 30 seconds or so observing the dumbfounded (and now certainly paranoid) Housemates, we head back to the auditorium where the hosts send us off to the next ad break.

As we come back, all three evictees make a combined entrance; walking down the aisle to the stage (I miss the ramp by the way). The next few segments of the program are dedicated to this joined eviction interview, with a mixture of individual and group questions. I know, on double eviction nights we’ve traditionally seen separate exits and interviews, but I think that regardless of who the HMs are, we could get more out of them if they’re kept together. I think the familiar company would help relax them and allow them to open up more, giving the hosts more to work with and the audience at home a far more engaging interview.

The pros:

– A complete mindf*ck for the Housemates.
– If pulled off properly, this could be one of the most memorable nights of the show.
– A very real possibility it could boost ratings. It’s been suggested that many only tune in to see who gets evicted. Well, if the eviction announcement(s) were earlier in the show, the following joined interview might just keep those fickle viewers watching.

The con:

– It’s obvious – we could very well lose three important characters. Love them or hate them, Nobbi, Brigitte and Terrence are both a key part of the house dynamic. Even Cherry is showing some value as a strategist.

On the other hand, so what if we lost three key characters? It would transform the house dynamic and maybe some others might shine through and become key players. Besides, there’s only a few weeks to go. And there’s still a chance we could ditch some of the extra baggage, ie Terri or Alice. I wouldn’t have just spent ages writing this if I didn’t think it was a worthwhile gamble. Please BB, take the plunge and give us a triple! BB09 is on very shaky ground – this could be your last chance!

What do you think? Comments very much welcome here

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