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'Big Brother 8' reveals houseguest relationships and America's Player


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/06/2007 

The identities of Big Brother 8's "unfinished business" twist pairings, the season's first Head of Household, as well as which of the 14 houseguests will spend the season serving as "America's Player" were all revealed to viewers during last night's broadcast of the long running CBS reality show's eighth-season premiere.

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Six of Big Brother 8's houseguests were surprised during last night's premiere to learn that a "rival, enemy, or someone with whom they have unfinished business" would also be entering the Big Brother house the contestants will call home all summer.

Dick Donato, a single 44-year-old bar manager from Los Angeles, CA, found he'd be living with his estranged daughter Danielle Donato, a single 20-year-old waitress from Huntington Beach, CA who is also only the second under-21 houseguest in American Big Brother history.  After being sequestered in the HoH room before the 11 additional houseguests entered the house, Dick and the game's two other "unfinished business" houseguests were informed of the season's twist and given a chance to use the HoH room's surveillance screen to secretly spy on the rest of the houseguests.

"Oh!  That's my daughter there... My daughter that hasn't talked to me in two years," Dick said when he first spotted Danielle on the HoH room's surveillance screen.  "I could give a f**k because how it goes is how it goes and I can't change that... Honestly I send her emails all the time.  She just ignores me so it's a matter of her not talking to me."

Dustin Erikstrup, a single 22-year-old shoe salesman from Chicago, IL who was also secluded, learned he'd be living with his ex-boyfriend Joe Barber II, a single 23-year-old receptionist from Chicago, IL.

"That's my ex... He's wearing my shirt and I'm wearing his shirt!" exclaimed Dustin upon seeing Joe on the monitor.  "He's very manipulative... he has gigantic nipples... the beef between Joe and I is bad.  There was some shoving and pushing, and he slept with my friend."

Jessica Hughbanks, a single 21-year-old college student from Haysville, KS who was the third houseguest secluded with Dustin and Dick, learned she'd be living with former high-school rival Carol Journey, a single 21-year-old student from Lawrence, KS.

"Oh my God!  That's mine... We're rivals from high school, big time," Jessica opined when she saw Carol on the monitor.  Jessica further explained she and Carol stopped talking because Carol owed her $5 when they were 14.  "I cannot stand her.  We're from the same small town.  She talked a lot of smack and I wasn't really into that.  I just don't know what to expect from Carol... You know girls in high school!  They're catty bitches.  I mean we were at each other and stuff, we just went our separate ways." 

Jessica also thought she saw an engagement ring on Carol's hand before Dustin pointed out it wasn't on the right finger to be a wedding ring.  "Good, because she is not loyal," said Jessica, which brought a laugh from Dustin.

Later in the show's premiere broadcast, Big Brother host Julie Chen informed the 11 houseguests who weren't in seclusion about the season's "unfinished business" twist.  Joe immediately knew one of the three unidentified houseguests would be Dustin before blurting out to the other 10 he was seated with that his ex-boyfriend gave him gonorrhea.  Joe also openly admitted he did "horrible things" to Dustin to get back at him for it.  Then Joe's nightmare became a reality when Dustin, Dick, and Jessica left the HoH room and introduced themselves to the rest of the houseguests.

Like Joe, Danielle was pretty sure one of the unidentified houseguests was her father.

"I think that my dad is going to be coming in," said Danielle during a confessional.  "We don't get along very well.  But I haven't told anybody that I'm pretty sure that's who it is yet because I don't want them to know." When Dick introduced himself as Danielle's father, the other houseguests were surprised as she went to her room and cried.

"I'm so frightened," sobbed Danielle to a few of the other female houseguests.  "I know he's going to come in and try to make my life miserable."

While Carol said she "really didn't think" it would be one of her rivals because she had only one "rival" she could even think of -- namely Jessica -- she was wrong.  "Oh my God," was all Carol could muster when she saw Jessica.

Big Brother 8's first Head of Household competition was also broadcast during the premiere episode, however Dustin, Dick and Jessica did not participate since their identities had no yet been revealed to the other 11 houseguests.  Later, Julie revealed that since Dustin, Dick and Jessica had not been eligible to compete in the challenge, they could also not be nominated for the house's first eviction.

Dubbed "Mushroom Madness," the HoH competition paired the houseguests, with one teammate kneeling on a spinning mechanical mushroom while the other answered questions on a stump nearby. Julie would ask a series of true or false questions about the houseguests and every incorrect answer would make their team's mushroom spin faster. The team that stayed on their mushroom longest would win the competition and one member of that team would become the first Head of Household.

However since there were an odd number of houseguests participating and the houseguests were responsible for teaming themselves up, Nick Starcevic, a single 25-year-old former professional football player from Kimball, MN, was left without a partner and had no chance of becoming the Head of Household. 

The five pairs were Amber Siyavus, a separated 27-year-old cocktail waitress from Las Vegas, NV, and Carol; Jameka Cameron, a single 28-year-old school counselor from Waldorf, MD, and Joe; Mike Dutz, a single 26-year-old painting contractor from Three Lakes, WI, and Danielle; Jen Johnson, a single 23-year-old nanny from Beverly Hills, CA, and Zach Swerdzewski, a single 30-year-old graphic designer from Burbank, CA; as well as Eric Stein, a single 27-year-old talent management assistant from New York, NY, and Kail Harbick, a married 37-year-old business owner from McKenzie Bridge, OR.

Despite Eric constantly commenting that he was trying to "throw" the first head of Household competition because he had no interest in serving in that capacity at the onset of Big Brother 8, Kail held onto her mushroom the longest and they were declared the winners. 

However after the competition was down to only Eric and Kail, Julie revealed that it would be up to Dick, Jessica and Dustin to determine which one of them would serve as Big Brother 8's first Head of Household. 

"Honestly, if you're watching right now, give it to Kail," Eric pleaded to the three hidden houseguests.  They obliged his request and unanimously elected Kail, who received the right to live in the Head of Household's master bedroom, which includes a private bathroom and the plasma screen spy cam that Dick, Jessica, and Dustin had been using to monitor other houseguests' activities.  As the show's first HoH, Kail also has the responsibility of having to nominate two fellow houseguests for eviction.

Eric's reluctance to become the first Head of Household may have had something to do with the fact that he's serving as America's Player for Big Brother 8.  As long as Eric stays in the house, the home viewing audience will be voting via text messaging or the Internet on an assignment that he will have to complete.  The task could range from flirting with or voting out one of the other houseguests, but regardless, Eric must work in secret and at least make an attempt at completing the task asked of them.  He'll receive $10,000 for each five tasks he successfully completes.

"So it looks like I'm going to be America's Player," Eric revealed to Big Brother 8's home viewing audience at the premiere's conclusion.  "Welcome to reality TV's first alliance of 10 million.  I couldn't be more excited.  We're going to pull-off reality TV history.  We're going to win this thing... You guys are in full control of my destiny in this house.  You're gonna be able to tell me who to vote for, who to target for nomination... Your wish is my command.  I'm here to give you guys what you want.  I hope America realizes this is a chance for us to be the stars of this show and send everybody else packing.  I am the quintessential Big Brother player.  I've got the brains, I've got the cutthroat skills... We're going to have some fun."

Big Brother 8 will now settle into its thrice-weekly broadcast schedule, continuing on Sunday, July 8 at 8PM ET/PT as well as Tuesday, July 10 9PM ET/PT, with the first eviction airing living during the Thursday, July 12 episode beginning at 8PM ET/PT.

(Photo credit CBS)


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