June 27, 2005
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TV Show: Big Brother 6


The secrets of Big Brother 6
By -- JAM! Showbiz



'Big Brother 6' producer Arnold Shapiro.

Everyone has a secret. Big Brother has many this season and he ain't giving them up without a fight.

Speaking to Jam! Showbiz, producer Arnold Shapiro revealed the season-long theme this season on Big Brother will be 'The Summer of Secrets'.

"This season we have what we are calling 'The Summer of Secrets' meaning that because it is a brand new house there will be multiple secrets uncovered throughout the summer that the HouseGuests will find," Shapiro told Jam! Showbiz. "We were able to do that because we have a brand new setting."

The "setting" Shapiro is referring to is the new two-storey Big Brother house which was recently built on the CBS Studio lot in California. The old house was torn down to make way for a state of the art facility that will house CBS' two L.A. television stations. The new Big Brother house will contain 46 cameras capturing every move of the HouseGuests as opposed to last year's 42. There are also 72 microphones instead of 62.

Art director Scott Storey designed the new house from scratch. Shapiro and co-producer Alison Grodner were a crucial part of the design process working with Storey to create a house that will be unlike anything Big Brother fans have seen before. A few examples, to further instil the importance of the Head of Household position, the HOH room is now located on the second floor. There is also an area on the second floor where HouseGuests can stand or sit and have an almost an entire view of the first floor. One thinks this would be a perfect area for the devious HouseGuests to plot or scheme their way to victory.

Scheming more details about the enigmatic 'Summer of Secrets' from the cagey Shapiro is not an easy task. He did however offer a few tid-bits. The new house itself may have secrets built into it that could be uncovered by the players or revealed to them by Big Brother as the series progresses. The HouseGuests themselves may also harbour personal secrets for one reason or another.

"There are secrets that will be revealed which will impact this cast in a different way than other casts have been impacted. The same could be said of the X Factor and last year's DNA theme," said Shapiro. "I think it is one of the very best casts we have ever had based on looking at them as an entire group of 14 and as distinct individuals and what they have going for themselves. It will be much clearer to you when they are in the house and the secrets start being revealed. It is very possible that the configuration of this cast may also lead to the uncovering of some secrets. You never know."

Yes, folks, you read correctly. While Big Brother will be starting the season with the largest number of HouseGuests yet - 14 - Shapiro did also reveal that the season will not be extended because of that fact.

While he may have been holding his cards closely to his chest when it comes to the 'Summer of Secrets' theme, Shapiro was very open about addressing the various Big Brother 6 rumours that have been circulating around the Internet ever since the sixth season was announced. The three most prevalent being that there will be a "moderator" in the house, there will be some "recognizable" HouseGuests which viewers have may have seen before and that this is very last season of the popular CBS summer-time reality show series.

"There is no 'moderator' and the only 'recognizable face' will be returning host Julie Chen," stated Shapiro putting two of the rumours to rest. While the America's Choice component is still being debated, Shapiro did confirm that there will be live 24/7 Internet feeds from the Big Brother house as there have been in previous seasons.

As far as Big Brother 6 being the final season, that is complete and utter nonsense too.

"That is absolutely untrue. As you know, we have a new Big Brother house in a new Big Brother compound. I don't think that CBS would have gone to all the expense of relocating us if they weren't in it for the long haul," he said.

The producers aren't bailing on the series any time soon either. Though the series is renewed by CBS one season at a time, both Shapiro and Grodner are enthusiastically committed to the series as long as CBS will have them. "There is no show on television to compare this to in terms of the experience. I have done live television before. I started in live television but that was one show a week...and it was a half hour. So, there is a big difference. I think that what keeps us coming back is we love doing the show and we love the challenge of thinking up new twists and new surprises each year," Shapiro said.

As the July 7th debut date on CBS quickly approaches, Shapiro feels the same excitement as he did when he and Grodner took over stewardship of the series after the first season. Having been saddled with the same house their predecessors used, it is a welcome change for the producers to be in a new setting although the demands on their time won't be any different for them or their staff of over 225 people.

"Neither of us has had a summer since when we started this. It is a seven-day-a-week job and this is the longest running reality show as in the number of days of production. This is close to 90 days and it is non-stop. It is essentially a live show. Many of the other reality shows are completed, taped and edited before they go on the air. They know who the winners are and it makes the editing easier. We are different. We are experiencing it along with the audience."

Recognized by many for his 1978 documentary 'Scared Straight!', Shapiro sees ironic parallels between his work on Big Brother and the prison environment he once chronicled on film.

"We (the producers and Big Brother staff) live the experience along with the HouseGuests. We are in a compound too. We are surrounded by walls and barbed wire fences. The HouseGuests may be locked in the house but we are locked in the compound. Nobody goes out for meals. We have a 24-hour-a-day kitchen. This is a strange analogy to use but when you're a prison guard, you go in the prison and you are locked inside too, except...you get to go home after your shift," said Shapiro.

Join Jam!s John Powell for the debut of Big Brother 6 on Thursday, July 7th and the launch of Jam!'s 24/7 summer-long coverage of the live Internet feeds. Check back on the JAM! Big Brother 6 homepage for all the details as well as the latest news and happenings.






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