Big changes are coming to 'Big Brother'.
CBS has announced that some of the 13 players on this year's edition are going to have to come face to face with their pasts if they want to win the $500,000 grand prize.
Sub-titling the series 'The X Factor', some of the 'Big Brother 4' HouseGuests are in for a shock. After the contestants enter the house they will be living and competing in for three months, the producers will reveal that four of them will have their ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends joining them in the game as participating players.
CBS claims that none of the participants know they are about to be reunited in the 'Big Brother 4' house. All of the contestants are currently being sequestered in the L.A. area and will begin moving into the house later this week although the show doesn't debut on CBS until July 8th.
'Big Brother 4' producers Allison Grodner and Arnold Shapiro maintain that the couples who will be on the series may have lived together previously but were not married, none have children and there were no violent situations involving their break-up. The HouseGuests will be entering the house in different groups on the debut show.
"The twist was the brainchild of my partner Allison Grodner. She came up with this idea for 'The X Factor' and we think that this is the single biggest change that we have ever introduced to 'Big Brother' since we have taken over the show. It is totally unpredictable. We have no idea what is going to happen," series co-producer Arnold Shapiro told Jam! Showbiz.
In the casting-interviewing process, the producers learned about the HouseGuests' former loves, tracked them down and invited them to be on the show as well - though the 'X Factor' twist was kept a secret from them.
"There are volatile stories and positive stories ranging from 'the-one-who-got-away' to 'I-never-want-to-see-that-person-again'," said series co-producer Grodner. The identities of the HouseGuests will be made public on July 3rd.
According to Grodner, the change to the show wasn't introduced because anyone felt the series was becoming dull. Grodner and Shapiro just wanted to spice things up and hopefully provide some better storylines for the viewers.
"We are still playing the game the same way and it is still a big social experiment. We have just upped the ante as far as the social experiment aspect goes," said Grodner. "We wanted something that would be a new twist and would really knock people's socks off," said Grodner.
Within hours of the twist being leaked, Internet fans were quick to give their reactions to it.
"Sigh. It doesn't sound like a good plan, but if we're stuck with it, I'll just hope for the best (or worst)," wrote "steffy" on Joker's Updates.
"If it's true, I am thankful that at least they are trying something new this season," wrote "UnkleKevin" on the same Internet site.
Grodner and Shapiro are also altering the finale of the game. Only the last seven evicted HouseGuests will have the chance to vote on the eventual winner of 'Big Brother 4'. Unlike in previous years, the 'Big Brother' jury will be sequestered and not permitted to view any portion of the televised show or the live Internet happenings.
"In 'Big Brother 2', Will was the most outspoken person in the Diary Room that you could imagine. He managed to insult everybody and he won! Last year, it went just the opposite way. Many people feel Danielle played the game the best and yet did herself in because of her Diary Room comments. This time, the Diary Room will not be a factor and people can speak totally candidly and uninhibitedly, which is what we want. The Diary Room won't affect the vote," Shapiro stated.
Along with Julie Chen returning to host the series so too will a rule change made from last year's edition. The much-maligned Power of Veto will still be a part of the game but altered slightly.
As far as the design of the 'Big Brother' house itself, it too has undergone some changes.
'There are quite a few "X's" worked into the design elements throughout the house. The audience will be in on it upon seeing it but the HouseGuests will not until they learn of the twist," commented Grodner saying that the house has a 'retro sixties' look to it and that the Head of Household room will look like something out of 'Austin Powers'.
The fourth installment of the summer-long reality series will premiere on July 8th at 8:00 p.m. The series will air three shows a week. The show will be broadcast on Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays. The Tuesday and Friday editions will be taped and edited from the past happenings in the 'Big Brother' house while Wednesday will be the live eviction show during which a HouseGuest is voted out of the game. Friday will be the nomination show.
In the 'Big Brother' show, contestants must remain in a house on the CBS Studio lot in California for three months without contact with the outside world. The 'Big Brother' house is outfitted with 38 cameras and 62 microphones, which record the lives of the 12 contestants 24 hours a day. The goings-on are broadcast on TV as well as over the Internet.
Each week the contestants vote one of their own out until just two are left. The final surviving HouseGuests are then subjected to a final vote.
In past years, Net viewers have watched the happenings in the 'Big Brother' house live on the Internet 24-hours-a-day for subscription fee from Real Networks. Grodner and Shapiro said that Net element of the show would be the same this year and that information about ordering the live 'Big Brother 4' Net feeds would be made available in the coming days.
In last year's edition, Lisa Donahue, the 26-year-old former L.A. bartender turned photographer took home the grand prize of $500,000. Danielle Reyes, the 30-year-old media buyer from California came in second place winning $50,000.
Will Kirby, a 28-year-old physician from Florida won 'Big Brother 2'. Nicole, the 31-year-old personal chef from Atlanta, was the second place finisher.
Eddie McGee, the New Yorker who lost his left leg to cancer, won a half million dollars as the winner of the first U.S. 'Big Brother' after the viewers and not a jury of evicted HouseGuests voted for him during a finale phone poll.