Big Brother 11’s divided house borrows from Netherlands’ version’s “The Battle”

Big Brother 11 will somehow divide its house into two tribe-like groups, I first revealed yesterday, and commenter Joey Ortega pointed out that such a twist on the U.S. version would be borrowing from the original Netherlands version of the show.

For two seasons, starting in 2001, the Dutch version’s house was divided in half, in permanent groups during the third season and in groups that changed during the fourth season. Here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

“The housemates were divided in two permanent groups. One group lived in a luxurious part of the house, the other group lived in poverty. On unexpected times a battle was announced, in which the two groups could fight for the right to live on the rich half. Each group had a captain with special duties and privileges (a Head of Household before that name was coined). At any moment each participant was free to challenge his leader in a captains-battle.”

That sounds exactly like what I heard will happen this season, although I didn’t hear any confirmation about overthrowing the leader. That would be pretty interesting, though. And it’d be a nice twist if–and that’s a big “if”–producers replaced tired food challenges with these battles, not that I expect the show to suddenly have amazing challenges.

In addition, the luxury/poverty part of the twist–called the Bunker and the Bungalow in the Netherlands’ fourth season–could easily explain the “two house” rumor that’s currently making the rounds online, although a version of that (implausible) rumor says the two houses are identical.

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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.