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'Big Brother' unexpectedly loses houseguest due to "personal matter"


By Reality TV World staff, 07/11/2011 

CBS has confirmed what live feed watchers and viewers of Showtime's Big Brother: After Dark program already knew -- that Big Brother unexpectedly lost a thirteen-season houseguest only days after the game began.

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NOTE: The following contains significant Internet live feed spoilers that will not be televised until a future Big Brother broadcast.  Please stop reading immediately if you wish to wait until the show's broadcast

While viewers won't see his departure until Wednesday's episode, CBS has confirmed that Dick Donato -- the 48-year-old former Los Angeles bar manager who won Big Brother's eighth season in 2007 -- has left the Big Brother house due to an unspecified "personal matter."

"Due to a personal matter, Big Brother houseguest Dick Donato had to leave the game unexpectedly on Thursday," the network said in a media statement released Friday evening.

"His departure will be addressed on the episode to be broadcast on Wednesday, July 13."

According to Entertainment Weekly, Donato was not seen on Thursday night's live 12AM-3AM premiere of Big Brother: After Dark which aired on Showtime hours after CBS' pre-taped broadcast of Big Brother's thirteenth-season premiere.

Donato's estranged daughter Daniele Donato -- who was once again competing with him on Big Brother as part of the thirteenth season's initial "duos" gameplay twist -- was reportedly unaware of his departure until after it occurred.

However according to live feed monitoring websites, Big Brother producers later told Daniele her father's exit was not sparked by anyone she knew personally and she would be receiving a Big Brother Golden Key -- which, as part of the duos twist, was intended to give the surviving, non-evicted member of a duo immunity until only 10 houseguests remain -- due to Dick's unexpected departure.

Donato denied various rumors about the cause of his departure but didn't detail the actual reason for his exit in a video posted online Monday.

"Everyone does deserve an explanation of exactly what went down," he said in the expletive-laced, nine-minute video released on his rtvzone.com website.

"I wasn't kicked out, I wasn't put in jail, I wasn't diagnosed with cancer.  My mother, my son, and my girlfriend weren't in any kind of accident or caused me to leave the house in any way, shape or form. My brother wasn't killed -- I don't have a f**king brother.  All these rumors are just out of hand.  This [also] isn't some kind of lame publicity stunt aimed at promoting rtvzone.com... [and] I wasn't kicked out of the house for making some kind of little message [for the website to release] after I went into the house, that's ludicrous.  Also, I didn't leave the game to push Daniele further in the game as many are saying."

"People, friends, family, and fans who know me know I would never, ever have left that house, could it have been avoided.  I went in to win, not to leave and f**k CBS and the producers and my daughter and my alliance... I'm not a quitter."

"Why would I leave if it wasn't for something important? Here's kind of how it went down... I was summoned to the Diary Room where producers spoke to me and gave me some bad news about someone I was very close with.  Actually, they didn't even come on to the PA within the Diary Room, they came inside of the Diary Room... I was shocked."

"It was an emergency that required my immediate attention, there was no second thought.  I had to leave and [the producers] understood completely... I am going to respect [the person's] privacy and will not say anything else about the situation, so please don't bother asking me."

Donato isn't the first Big Brother houseguest to leave the long-running CBS reality series without being evicted by his fellow houseguests.

Two years ago, Chima Simone was evicted by the show's producers for violating the rules.  In addition to willfully destroying her microphone by throwing it in the pool and obstructing a camera in her bedroom, she also repeatedly refused to respond to requests the producers made over the Big Brother house's public address system and threatened to launch an expletive-filled tirade during one of the show's live eviction shows.

In 2008, Neil Garcia voluntarily left Big Brother: 'Til Death Do You Part -- the special winter Big Brother edition CBS aired during the television writers' strike -- during the competition's second week due to an unspecified "urgent, personal matter." 

During the show's 2003 season, Big Brother 4 houseguest Scott Weintraub was removed from the show prior to the season's first eviction after he refused to listen to the producers' instructions and threw a temper tantrum that caused some of the other houseguests to fear for their safety. 

Earlier in that same season, another would-be Big Brother 4 houseguest Brandon Showalter was removed from the show before the houseguests even entered the Big Brother house.  After the show's cast was announced, a still-sequestered Brandon allegedly attempted to contact his girlfriend -- a violation of the show's sequester-period rules.  An alternate contestant replaced Brandon when the cast entered the Big Brother house.

In 2001, Big Brother 2 houseguest Justin Sebik was kicked out of the house after a night of drinking included Justin holding a knife to the throat of fellow houseguest Krista Stegall and asking if she'd still love him "if I killed you." 

Although Krista -- Justin's "showmance" girlfriend -- didn't seem threatened by his action and later claimed to have no memory of the incident and protested that "[the producers] blew that completely out of proportion," Big Brother's producers decided to remove Justin after determining he had demonstrated inappropriate behavior.

By the time the season ended, Krista had found a new "showmance" partner -- eventual Big Brother 7: All-Stars winner Mike "Boogie" Malin, who proposed marriage to her live on Big Brother 2's season finale.  The pair later broke up and never married.  Despite her earlier comments, Krista sued CBS over the knife incident a year later.


(Photo credit CBS)


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