Enough Shhh…ing! It’s time to talk!

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,

RK x

Big Brother 2012: more of the same, that’s ok

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.

Here’s hoping

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.

Welcome back.

The good, the bad and the celebrities

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 GOOD

  • 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.

THE BAD

  • 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.

THE CELEBRITIES

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.

Comment on our userblogs

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.

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.

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.

TIME

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.

FNL

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.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE

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.

EVICTIONS

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.

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

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.

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

Have voters finally got it right?

After eight years of Big Brother Australia it seems as though the voting public may have figured it out.

Kick out the boring ones, not the ones you wouldn’t want to live with.

Gretel crammed it into our brains eviction after eviction but every Sunday we would see the most out spoken housemate, or the housemate causing the most arguments booted from the Gold Coast compound. Now, it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Rhianna was booted last night, and to be honest, I can’t think of one memorable moment she has had in that house for viewers. Yes, she was pseudo-dating Rory and some nip nip wiggy wiggy is good every now and then, but other than that she was a boring pot plant of a housemate.

I’m hoping she was evicted because she was boring (in the house, she may very well be a bundle of laughs outside) – not because she was getting it on with Rory, who I can see many young girls (and guys) with phone credit to burn getting jealous and voting her out.

We’ll see how things pan out tonight with nominations, and then this Sunday will be the real test – will the voting public (which lets face it, aren’t 100% of Big Brother watchers) kick out a boring housemate, or will they kick out another piece of flora?

Can BBUK learn anything from Aussie BB?

We’ve often posted here about how great BBUK is and how crap BB Australia is – and generally speaking in the last few years that’s been quite true, but there are still a few things where BBUK could benefit from their Australian counterpart.

Production wise in terms of the experience the housemates, and therefore the viewers, get has been far superior in BBUK, with better tasks, better twists and better housemates – with each year offering something different, rather than a carbon copy of the previous years.

However, when it comes to how the show is packaged there are things where BBUK could learn alot from BB Australia.

BUILDING THE HYPE

Beginning at the beginning, this years pre-season promo campaign was outstanding for BB Aus and really served it’s purpose in getting viewers interested in the show, and also indicating that there were changes in store for the new season. Meanwhile BBUK stuck to the standard format it has used for a few years – flashes of the new logo, “countdown” ads and the house ad – which only served to tell people Big Brother was back, but didn’t give any reason to watch, especially to those who deserted the show last year. The result – the lowest rated launch show since the live launches began in BB3.

Similarly promotion wise at the end of both the launch show, and especially the first eviction, the viewers were given very little reason to keep watching. We needed to be enticed with teasers of some changes to the rules or new tasks coming up – the promise of a wedding was not enough.

However, no hype means no let down. We all know how often BB Aus fails to deliver what it’s promised – with tonight’s big prize reveal being the latest example.

STOP TALKING!!!

Secondly the daily shows – as annoying as Mike Goldman is, at least he keeps it short and sweet. Marcus Bentley always seems to say 100 words when 10 will do, with his most annoying observation being that “all of the housemates are in the house”. Never – thank you for informing us none of them have popped down to the shops or out to the pub!

Worst of all though is how it’s assumed BBUK viewers have no memories, with long winded recaps of key events narrated to us by Marcus often two or three times in an episode, where either a “Previously…” segment at the beginning or just the basic assumption that viewers remember what happened yesterday would be much better.

Generally though of course our shows benefit from the longer running length – and especially the later time slot, meaning we’re not seeing a censored family friendly version of the housemates.

YOU ARE LIVE ON CHANNEL 4

Finally let’s talk about the live shows. With the launch show there are strong similarities between the both, but Davina’s house tour and the simple format of HM VT, walk through the crowd and straight into the house works much better in the UK. However, where BBUK really lets itself down is the evictions.

For the first four series the eviction shows really stood out as the highlight of the week, with a good balance of pre-eviction features including nominee profiles and chats with friends and family before Davina announced the result from the studio, with the very effective one minute walk from the studio to the house, which visually worked very well.

In BB5 they decided that the crowd outside deserved more of a show, so Davina moved out, the pre-eviction features were axed and the show basically became a standard highlights show with the eviction tagged on at the end. For the first time the house could hear the crowd when Davina linked to the house, and how they reacted to each nominee. In later years chants of “Get XXXX Out” became common place on eviction night too.

Although Big Brother soon realised that interviews with the evictee couldn’t be conducted effectively amongst the crowd, they stuck with Davina hosting outside and linking to the house amongst the baying crowd – until now. In what is pretty obviously a last minute decision, Davina is linking to the house from the silence of the studio again, which has widely been welcomed by viewers, but she still hosts the rest of the show outside.

This has only really highlighted how poorly produced our eviction shows have become lately – with the transfer from outdoors to studio being particularly messy. Unlike BB1-4, it’s obvious the studio isn’t designed with this in mind, but since BB5 the link to the studio hasn’t been there – and the show suffers for it.

Although BB Australia’s set up isn’t ideal, especially now with the cut from HM revolving out of the house to revolving out on stage, at least it still stands out as the eviction show. We don’t need an hour of highlights on eviction night – and sacrificing just 5-10 minutes for some simple features profiling the nominees and talking to friends and family really would make all the difference, along with designing the studio with a link to the outdoor crowd in mind, and then BBUK evictions really would be back at the top of their game.

BUT…

All that said though, so far Big Brother 9 in the UK seems to be heading in the right direction. IMO we’ve had the best first week since BB6 – the housemates and tasks so far are certainly more interesting than anything we had last year and in just a week it’s provided much more entertaining viewing than the last two months of BB08.

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Random Ramblings…

A few thoughts… and a look ahead to BBUK.

Firstly, the nominations. I’ve hated the new process from the start as it’s just not Big Brother, but I’ve got to concede it had the desired effect of keeping the characters in and kicking the pot-plants out, and I do think they should have stuck with it until the end of the season.

However, that being said we learnt more about the housemates’ relationships in the first round of proper nominations than we have in all the previous eviction votes – and now the HMs can get rid of who they want, and the viewer can get the final say. Perfect.

And although it’s much better IMO recording them and airing the nominations in the Daily Show, they need to tighten it all up a bit. It would be best to call the HMs into the diary room randomly during the morning rather than sitting them all down to do it, and that way the noms can be spread through the show a bit more, rather than in a couple of packages at the end.

On to Intruders and yeah, whatever. Same old same old with a VT entrance and splitting the HMs up. And now they’ve arrived, Ollie is sidelined in the daily shows, and Ollie is the only reason I started downloading again.

BBUK

The new series of Big Brother UK begins on Thursday and after a tough year last year, it’s time for the show to fight back.

Whether it will remains to be seen – it came back from the brink in BB5, so it’s got a proven history of revamping itself when required, even if they’ve left it a series or two too late this time.

Davina is back – and looking like one sexy mama in the pre-season photo shoots, while it remains to be seen what new hosts George Lamb and Zezi Ifore bring to BBLB.

The house is looking great though, and will be home to 16 HMs from Thursday night, with the first eviction due on Friday 13th.

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