CBS needs to steal Big Brother with puppets and people idea that was once pitched to Fox

We’re now between seasons of Big Brother, and that means the producers are developing and/or fine-tuning the upcoming 10th season, which debuts in July. Because they can’t leave well enough alone, they always have to have some secret twist. We don’t know what that is yet, but I hope they haven’t made a decision, because the best idea ever comes from Fox reality executive Mike Darnell.

“I was pitched ” ‘Big Brother’ with puppets” — so that half the ‘Big Brother’ people are human and they’re competing against puppets. Week after week, the audience either votes a human out or a puppet,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.

Darnell revealed that idea after being asked about “the worst reality show idea you’ve ever heard.” That show may not work for Fox, but I think this one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard, and CBS should run with it. Really.

I’m not quite sure how it’d work. We’d probably have to see the puppeteers, like on Avenue Q, but that’d be okay, especially if the cast members were forced to interact with the puppets, not the puppeteers. I also think audience voting is generally a bad idea, as the first season of the show proved. But imagine how much more fun the summer would be with a house full of ridiculous, over-the-top characters with weird voices–and puppets!

Certainly, it’s ridiculously silly. But that’s exactly what Big Brother needs right now. We do not need another season of the same-old, same-old, especially so soon after such a dreadfully boring season. The show is old, tired, and is just going through the motions, recycling everything from challenges to musical cues. The only thing that gets anyone excited is offensive behavior. If we have to deal with that, at least let us also have puppets.

Q&A: Mike Darnell [Hollywood Reporter]

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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.