Big Brother 1 (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Big Brother 1 was the first season of the American version of the international reality show Big Brother. At the time, the show was known as Big Brother 2000 like the international editions of the series, in which the year is used to classify the season instead of a number. It was the first series to be broadcast in English, premiering only days before the British version, however, in the British version, the housemates had gone into the house five days prior to the start of the U.S. version. Sixty-seven episodes aired from July 5 to September 29, 2000. Julie Chen, a host of CBS This Morning and The Early Show, was the host of the series.
The season premiere is, as of 2012, the highest viewed episode in Big Brother history, being viewed by 22.40 million people. The series quickly dropped in viewers, and the season finale was viewed by 11.13 million viewers, less than half the amount that viewed the premiere. The series averaged a total of 9.10 viewers. The ratings decline of the series is often blamed on the fact that all of the "colorful" HouseGuests were banished in the first few weeks, leaving only boring people in the game. Although the success of Survivor: Borneo in the summer of 2000 is generally seen as the forerunner to the reality show trend which followed, Big Brother was the only other major network reality show to be airing at that same time.
HouseGuest "Chicken" George Boswell is the only HouseGuest from Big Brother 1 to return for future seasons. He was a contestant on Big Brother: All Stars in 2006, where he ultimately came in 5th place. He returned yet again to the house in Big Brother 10 for a food competition which featured a representative for each season.
The first season of Big Brother aired six nights a week. The six episodes included a weekly live studio episode, a weekly hour long recap episode, and four half-hour daily recap episodes. A live feed into the house was available free to users, though later seasons would require viewers to pay to view the live feeds. The theme song for Season One was called "Live", and was performed by Jonathan Clarke. Bits and pieces of the song were played during the closing credits of each episode, but was never played in its entirety. The song is available on a hard-to-find soundtrack CD produced by the Dutch show producers, along with the first-season theme songs of shows in Argentina, Spain, and Germany. An instrumental version of the theme, heavy on acoustic guitar and/or saxophones, were used for the opening credits and interstitials.
Unlike future seasons, Big Brother 1 featured a live nomination episode. Each HouseGuest would enter the Red Room and state their nominations, along with a reason. Host Julie Chen would be present for the episode, along with a live studio audience. The banishment episodes were live as well, with Julie revealing the percentage to the viewers and HouseGuests during the show. During the live eviction episodes, Chen was frequently joined in-studio by TV and radio personality "Dr. Drew" Pinsky", to discuss psychological and interpersonal aspects of ongoing events. Also joining Julie was Regina Lewis as the "AOL Online Adviser", Regina highlighted online forum discussions and shared results from online polls. Neither one returned in subsequent seasons.
The 10 HouseGuests who entered the house on Day 1 were competing for a $500,000 cash prize. The prize would be awarded to the winner of the series, being the person with the most votes from the viewers. The Runner-Up of the series would receive $100,000 and the second Runner-Up would receive $50,000. Throughout the season, various prizes were given out for various tasks. HouseGuest Jamie was allowed to host an episode along with Julie Chen after winning a competition in the game. Eddie, Cassandra and Brittany won a luxury dinner after being crowned Mr. and Mrs. Big Brother 2000. Later in the season, viewers were introduced to a woman named Beth, who would potentially become a new HouseGuest in the game. She would enter only if someone chose to walk from the game. The five remaining HouseGuests were offered $20,000 to walk from the game. When no one accepted the deal, it was later raised to $50,000. Still, no one accepted the offer and Beth did not enter the house.
The house used for the first season was a one story house with two bedrooms, a kitchen and dining room, and one bathroom. Throughout the house there are two way mirrors lined against the walls, with a production team filming behind them. This line of mirrors forms the "camera corridor" around the entire house, in which the camera crew can follow HouseGuests through the house. The two bedrooms are completely identical, and feature five beds in each. Each bedroom features a bunk bed as well. None of the lights in the house can be turned off, with the exception of the bedrooms. To ensure that viewers were not missing anything, thermal imaging cameras were installed in the house. There are 60 microphones in the house, and each HouseGuest is required to wear one at all times while in the house. There are cameras in the shower and bathroom, in case HouseGuests attempt to have secret conversations in those areas. The house also featured the "Red Room", which was later dubbed the "Diary Room" in future seasons. Every day, HouseGuests were required to make confessionals in the Red Room, revealing their thoughts on events in the game. The outside of the house features a basketball court, in which HouseGuests can play on. There is also a pool, which features the Big Brother logo on the bottom. A chicken coop is in the backyard as well, and the HouseGuests must care for the chickens while in the house. They also use the eggs from the chickens to make meals.
The show's format differed greatly from the current editions of the series, and featured a format similar to the European editions of the series. Big Brother 1 involved ten complete strangers entering a house being watched by viewers in weekly episodes and the live feeds. The HouseGuests have no contact with anyone outside the house, and have no newspapers, no books, no television and no radio. Each week, the HouseGuests had to choose two HouseGuests to nominate, and the process was shown live. The two HouseGuests who received the most votes would be nominated for banishment. The viewing audience would then vote on which of the two nominees they wanted to banish from the house. The viewers voted for whom to evict via a 900 number. For the first few Live Eviction shows, Julie Chen had a co-host, Ian O'Malley, who would greet the HouseGuests after they were banished, and direct them to the live studio. The HouseGuests were not allowed to discuss nominations with one another. A narrator would briefly introduce the topic of discussion each time a new scene or scenario was being shown. Also, the show would often feature the voices of Big Brother producers, both in diary room interviews and over the house loudspeakers. In future seasons, there is no voiceover narration during the show (except at the beginning to recap the last episode), and what the producers say in the Diary Room is normally not shown (with a few exceptions). Unlike in later seasons, the HouseGuests did not compete against each other for food or positions of power. Rather they had to undergo various tasks of endurance or problem-solving, such as puzzles, or dancing for a full day without stopping, and if successful it resulted in a reward.
The first season of Big Brother featured ten HouseGuests, each of which were complete strangers. All of the HouseGuests were from different states except for Eddie and Curtis, both of whom were from New York. Eddie was the youngest HouseGuests, at 21, while Karen was the oldest, at 43.
On Day 1, ten strangers entered the Big Brother house in the first, and only, live premiere in Big Brother history. They each picked out their bedrooms and got to know one another. The first weekly task was for HouseGuests to build a clock powered by potatoes or go without knowing time in the house. They passed the challenge. Their food task was to solve a word puzzle and dig one foot left of lemon tree for $100 worth of food. A chicken from the chicken coop got its head caught in the fence, and producers took it from the Red Room. It was later returned to the house, and the HouseGuests nursed it back to health. At the nomination ceremony, Will Mega and Jordan were nominated for eviction. In the second week, the HouseGuests were given a list of names and they had to memorize whether that person was alive or not. The group failed the task. On Day 16, William became the first person banished from the house with 73% of the vote.
During the third weekly task, HouseGuests had to imitate another HouseGuest. The food task had the HouseGuests ride stationery bicycle for a combined total of 1000 miles. Their second task was to sit and paint someone on the bicycle to capture the week long food challenge on canvas. The second weekly task had the HouseGuests divide in three teams: blue (Eddie, George, Cassandra), white (Karen, Jordan, Brittany) and yellow (Curtis, Josh, Jamie). HouseGuests had to toss water balloons across the pool to each other. The blue team won. The weekly food task had the HouseGuests set up 12,100 dominoes to fall when BB gives signal making a picture of the Big Brother logo. The HouseGuests had to put the issue of flag burning on trial (each HouseGuest is assigned a different role of the court). Curtis and Jordan were named the second nominees of the season, and Jordan was banished on Day 29.
In Week 5, the HouseGuests host a roast for Curtis and Jordan who are up for banishment. The food task had six HouseGuests jump rope together 10 times. The rope turners have to recite a poem written by the HouseGuests while they jump. In Week 6, the HouseGuests had to create a daytime talk show Jerry Springer style. For the live challenge the HouseGuests had to pick who would receive a 60 second phone call. George was selected to make the call. HouseGuests later had to bake 8 blueberry pies and 8 raspberry pies to get ready. The Blueberries (Eddie, George, Cassandra, Brittany) vs. Raspberries (Curtis, Josh, Jamie, Karen) had to eat 8 pies. Raspberries win and get to choose how the food allowance gets spent. Due to a tie in the voting, there were three nominees this week, Cassandra, Josh and Karen. On Day 43, Karen was evicted from the house after she asked the viewers to vote her out. She received 76% of the vote.
In Week 7's task, the HouseGuests play water basketball. For the second task, the HouseGuests roast nominees Cassandra, Josh, and Karen. For the third task, The HouseGuests have 3 minutes to decide to watch the nominations or not. If they watch, they get a prize. HouseGuests decide not to watch, and never find out what the prize is. For the fourth task, HouseGuests stand in front of seated HouseGuest and be brutally honest about what they don't like about them. This is followed about what they like about them. For the fifth task, HouseGuests memorize all major highways. They have to tell which interstates to take to get from one city to another. In Week 8, the HouseGuests paint each other like animals. In the second task had the HouseGuests compete in a sumo wrestling match for a prize. Eddie wins, and gets a rather rough massage done by William. In the third task, HouseGuests have to match quotes with HouseGuests. Last one standing wins a special prize on the live show. Jaime wins the challenge. In the fourth task, HouseGuests had to build their own set of "babies" and then take turns crawling through the mud with the baby. They couldn't let the baby touch the mud. For the food task, from Sunday to Friday, two HouseGuests must be dancing non stop with part of the body touching. When cued (no matter what time of day or night) ALL HouseGuests have 30 seconds to get up and dance. Due to various ties in the voting, everyone except for Jamie were nominated for eviction. Britney was banished on Day 57, with 34% of the vote.
In Week 9, HouseGuests competed for the title of Mr. Big Brother 2000 (won by Eddie) and Miss Big Brother 2000 (tied by Cassandra and Brittany). They get a fancy dinner with meals of their choice. HouseGuests later had to fill out a questionnaire revealing opinions of each other (most loyal, funniest, most two faced, etc.). They divide into two teams with Brittany as host and the game ends in a tie. For the live challenge, Jamie got a chance to co-host with Julie and does 3 tasks: Interview the HouseGuest who Jamie chooses as having the hardest time being nominated (George), introduce a video segment, and announce the banished HouseGuest. In the food challenge, the HouseGuests build a puzzle with 4928 pieces by Friday. They lost the challenge. The group later discussed whether they would be willing to split the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize money. In part one of the live challenge, the HouseGuests are offered $20,000 to leave (only one can accept) and don't know a new HouseGuest named Beth will enter the house. They turn it down. They are then offered an additional $30,000 (total $50,000) to leave and turn it down again. Beth doesn't get to enter the house. She was told that she would only win $140,000 if she were to enter the house and win. In part two, Brittany visits and HouseGuests must decide which HouseGuest gets to talk to her. Originally the houseguests suggest Jamie, but Brittany overrides their suggestion and requests Josh. In the third task, HouseGuests name price of item another HouseGuest wants and must come within $1 for that HouseGuest to get it. On August 9, a pug named Chiquita was introduced to the house. Shortly after entering the house, Chiquita jumped into the pool, and Josh jumped in to save her; shortly thereafter, the producers built a fence around the pool for protection. As well, there were chickens in the backyard that the HouseGuests were supposed to take care of. When Chiquita's owners took her home, they even showed a picture of her with the "Banished" stamp over it like every other HouseGuest who had been banished. For the food task, the HouseGuests train Chiquita to go through an obstacle course. They complete the challenge. Cassandra, Curtis, and Eddie were the three nominees that week, with Cassandra being banished by 46% of the public vote.
In a luxury competition, HouseGuests told to search the house and find a ticket to go to the Emmy Awards. Curtis finds the ticket hanging on the wall in the Red Room. In the live challenge, the HouseGuests write a message to be sent over to the banner flyer guy, made, and flown over the house by the end of the show. Each HouseGuest has a chance to call home from the red room with following rules: 5 minutes total time for the entire group and the clock doesn't stop for exchanges. In the food competition, the HouseGuests had to juggle non-stop. As the number of HouseGuests dwindled, the show started losing viewers, and producer Paul Romer hoped to spice up the proceedings on Day 64 by offering to pay one of the HouseGuests $20,000 to leave and be replaced with a new, more interesting HouseGuest. Romer bragged in the media that they would have no problem getting a contestant to leave. On the Wednesday live show, viewers were introduced to Beth, an alternate from the casting process who described herself as being "opinionated" and "a bitch". Despite prodding from Julie Chen to take what began as $20,000, and was increased to $50,000, none of the HouseGuests would take the money and leave the game. Everyone but Josh were up for banishment that week, with George receiving 51% of the vote for banishment.
In Week 12, the HouseGuests write lyrics to the Big Brother theme song. The second task had the HouseGuests looking for Chiquita inside the house. The one who finds her gets to announce the weather on the local TVchannel. During the live challenge, HouseGuests had to decide which banished HouseGuest they want to come back into the house. After watching clips from each, they pick Cassandra. The third task was to play the Big Brother Board Game. For the food task, HouseGuests had to guess if statements were in the news or not. The final four were all nominated for eviction, with Jamie being banished, receiving 31% of the vote. For their penultimate task, the final three HouseGuests drew cards to determine who would be the saboteur, forced to "manipulate some aspect of life in the house". Josh was given this duty. The last task featured the final 3 HouseGuests going to the red room and given 30 seconds to say who they thought should win and why. On Day 88, Curtis came in third place with 14% of the final vote, earning a $50,000 prize. Minutes later, Josh was announced as the runner-up with 27% of the public vote. This made Eddie the winner of the $500,000 prize, receiving 59% of the public vote.
^: Cassandra and Karen had three nominations each, Josh had five. Due to the tie, three HouseGuests were "Marked for Banishment".
^: There was a five way tie between Brittany, Cassandra, Curtis, Eddie, and Josh each receiving two nomination vote each. George received three nomination votes. Due to the five way tie, six HouseGuests were "Marked for Banishment."
^: The percentage results were not revealed during the live show.
^: There was a three way tie between Cassandra, Eddie, and Curtis. As a result they were "Marked for Banishment."
^: Curtis, Eddie, and Jamie received two nomination votes each. As a result, they were "Marked for Banishment" along with George.
^: On Day 81, Cassandra visited the remaining HouseGuests for a discussion. There was a tie between all four HouseGuests so all were "Marked for Banishment."
^: The viewers voted for who to win, not to banish.
Ratings & reception
Big Brother 1 debuted in the US on July 5, 2000. The series premiere had over 22 million viewers, a successful number for the series. This makes the series premiere the highest viewed episode for the series to date, as of 2012. Despite the high premiere, ratings for the series quickly began to decline, and the series quickly dropped out of the Top 10 slot in terms of viewers. Ratings began to decline even more following the evictions of Will "Mega" and Jordan, who were both seen as colorful characters in the game. Despite the decline in ratings, the series' official website did receive a large amount of traffic, due to the live feed being available there. The first season of Big Brother has generally been ignored by CBS after it has aired. While all others seasons had "Where are they now?" segments on the following season, this did not occur for the Season 1 contestants on Big Brother 2. The official website for Big Brother 1 has been removed, although this is because the site was maintained by AOL, not CBS.com, and was deleted prior to the premiere of Big Brother 2. Will Kirby, the eventual winner of the following season, admitted on the live feeds during Big Brother 7: All-Stars that during Big Brother 2, the producers had told the HouseGuests not to mention Big Brother 1. Clips from the first season were shown on Big Brother: All Stars: America's Vote, as George Boswell was the only potential candidate from Big Brother 1. A never-used version of the present Big Brother logo, Big Brother 1, replaced the logo originally used for that season. Big Brother 1 was not mentioned by the contestants of subsequent seasons until season 7.
Controversy & criticism
Upon its announcement, the series has come under fire for both controversy and criticism. After the premiere of the first season, Chicago attorney Marvin Rosenblum filed a lawsuit against CBS, then corporate parent Viacom, and the production company Orwell Productions for alleged copyright infringement. Rosenblum, a producer of the film 1984, owns the film and TV rights to the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and claimed the show "illegally borrows from it." Rosenblum accused the network of illegally using the Big Brother moniker from the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and "deceiving the public into thinking the author's classic novel was the origin of the show." CBS, Viacom, and Orwell Productions filed a motion to dismiss the $20 million lawsuit. The dismissal was denied on January 4, 2001. In 2001 Rosenblum, CBS and Viacom settled the lawsuit under undisclosed terms.
Numerous events occurred during the game that sparked controversy as well. The show's security was breached early in the series when two publicity-seeking screenwriters threw a tennis ball stuffed with fake news stories - including one in then which President of the United States Bill Clinton purportedly called Big Brother a "national disgrace" - into the house's garden after finding it was unguarded. The HouseGuests were also communicated with by a plane towing a banner reading: "Big Brother is worse than you think. Get out now." The show also came under criticism after HouseGuest George Boswell's wife and family began campaigning for viewers to vote out some of the more popular HouseGuests to keep George in the game. Recently evicted HouseGuest Brittany, who was permitted to talk to Josh for a certain amount of time, informed Josh of this news. Various "anti-George" banners were flown over the house, leading Josh to inform them of the news. George then decided he would walk from the game, and attempted to convince the other HouseGuests to walk with him as well during a live episode. Ultimately, none of the HouseGuests chose to leave the game.