September 10, 2000
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TV Show: Big Brother

Big Brother contestants to walk?
By JOHN POWELL


In an act of defiance against the show's producers, the six remaining house guests on CBS' Big Brother reality program have pledged to walk out of the house this coming Wednesday night. If they do, they will forfeit the $500,000 prize money.

The seeds for a mass exodus were sewn on last Wednesday's live show. Banished house guest Brittany was permitted a private one-on-one chat with 23-year-old house guest Josh. Having viewed broadcasts of the show that were taped while she was in the house, Brittany informed Josh about who or who not to trust of the remaining contestants and made him aware that the hometown of one of them -- George, a 41-year-old roofer from Rockford, Illinois -- had banded together to kick her out during the bi-weekly banishment telephone poll.

When Josh spoke with the other house guests about what Brittany had told him, he refused to divulge the damaging information, fearing it would cause ill will in the house. In the ensuing days, banners flown over the house by the banishgeorge.com Web site and the relentless prodding of the other house guests weakened Josh's resolve to keep the peace. The banishgeorge.com Web site denies sponsoring a banner shown on Friday's broadcast which read, "Josh knows why we fly anti-George banners." To date, banishgeorge.com admits to paying for only three of the many banners flown over the secluded Big Brother house located on the CBS Studio lot in California.

Over the weekend, George admitted to the other house guests that he had made pleas behind their backs to keep himself from being voted out. He suggested that they all walk out together next Wednesday night.

"What happens if we all leave? There ain't no show," said George in a meeting with the other five surviving contestants.

Josh spoke to George alone and revealed what Britanny had said. The house guests met once again and were told the news Josh had been keeping to himself. George convinced everyone to go along with his plan, though the support of 21-year-old student Eddie was begrudging at best.

"What did I do this summer?," Eddie rhetorically asked himself. "Trashed a CBS show," he replied answering his own question.

Sensing Eddie's discontent, Banishgeorge.com flew an "emergency banner" over the house on Saturday reading "Eddie - Wrong Decision - Stay In House."

There are only 21 days left in the televised competition which began in July with ten contestants sealed away in the CBS Big Brother house with television cameras and microphones recording their every movement. This week, house guests Eddie, Cassandra and Curtis are "marked for banishment" by the other contestants. Based on voting by the television viewers, one of them is scheduled to be booted from the house this Wednesday. The last surviving house guest will walk home with the $500,000 cash prize.

CBS insists that the rules of the Big Brother game state that anyone voluntarily leaving the house is out of the running as staying put is the whole point of the game show -- yet they are sending house guest Curtis to the Emmys Sunday night as a reward for winning this week's special challenge.

This past Wednesday, Big Brother's producers offered $50,000 and the nullification of this week's banishments to any house guest who volunteered to leave the show. Unbeknownst to the contestants, the offer was made so the producers could substitute a new female player in their place. The house guests all balked at the cash.

Since the show's first episode, CBS has been heavily criticized in the mainstream media for lacklustre ratings when, in fact, it has earned an average but respectable ranking. Last week's live episode scored a 7.8 in the National Neilsen Ratings ranking it as the 11th most watched show of the week. Big Brother airs every day except Sunday and is broadcast live on the Internet 24-hours-a-day at www.bigbrother2000.com.




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