Big Brother producer Allison Grodner discusses this season’s controversies and allegations

Big Brother 8 executive producer, who now runs the show by herself, has revealed in a candid interview with Entertainment Weekly that she and the show’s other producers are basically making things up as they go along.

For example, she said that Jen’s penalty vote punishment was made up just for this situation. “We always reserve the right to give penalty nominations when rules are broken that are not safety violations or something so extreme that you should be ejected. But this was unprecedented [someone who was already nominated breaking a rule],” she said.

More damningly, she said that they haven’t yet decided when Eric will reveal he’s America’s Player, and basically admits they’ll make a decision based upon how likely it is that Eric will win. “That would certainly be part of the finale, but I’m not saying when he’ll be able to reveal it. That needs to be determined. He needs to be judged on how he played the game and how he’s perceived. So the question is: Should he reveal it before or after? It’s my opinion that it should be revealed after in order for him to have a fair shot of winning this game. But that has yet to be determined,” she said.

Speaking of America’s Player, Allison Grodner says that Jen did not discover Eric’s identity. “Where did that come from? We know better than that!” She says Jen’s “Mr. America” comment “was exaggerated by viewers.”

Regarding the houseguests’ allegations that producers try to sway votes, she tells the magazine, “We can’t manipulate the houseguests because we know we have the viewers watching us. That’s something that we are very much against here. We do ask the houseguests to talk to us in pros and cons so we can understand their line of thinking. It’s important for us to do that in order to understand the strategy, which can get so complex. That’s what is happening. We are very careful to ask balanced questions. We will ask them to weigh both sides.”

She also–again, to her credit, even if her answer is vague–discusses Dick’s behavior. Asked why Jen was punished for eating but Dick has not been for his abuse, she said, “That’s not necessarily true. By the way, we don’t discuss who is admonished and so forth in the Diary Room. But I will tell you as an overall note that when people are close to crossing the line in terms of violence in the house, they are warned.” Ooh, warnings.

Finally, Allison also expresses her glee at the producers’ ongoing hypocrisy, as illustrated with Eric’s unpunished vandalism of Jen’s property and Jen’s punishment for vandalizing Dick’s property. “Obviously it was an America’s Player situation [Eric was told to do it]. She was able to wash it and it was fine. If that had been a situation in the house, we probably would have admonished the person who did it. But Jen doesn’t know who did it!” she says.

‘Big Brother’: Burning Questions Answered! [Entertainment Weekly]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.