Mentors and another Hantz: Big Brother’s casting borrows from Survivor

Big Brother‘s producers and CBS executives showed their complete lack of creativity with their casting of the show’s 14th season, borrowing both name recognition and a recent twist from Survivor. Of course, it involves returning cast members–and the brother of Russell Hantz. Sigh.

The cast will officially be announced tomorrow, July 5, but a new promo, below, introduces half of them as they do that fake, over-coached, acting shit that is the hallmark of the cast introductions on this terrible show. In addition, an interview with Willie Hantz–brother of Russell Hantz–leaked today on WPIX’s web site, as did one with Kara Monaco (who is no stranger to reality TV). Both were quickly pulled offline.

Earlier, the usually active fan community and ever-talkative former cast members have been hurling rumors for the past week or two, and the narrative that has emerged is that four former houseguests will return to mentor past cast members but not actually be playing the game, which is the one original twist here, and definitely an intriguing one. Of course, Survivor has been placing returnees with tribes for a few seasons now, and is doing that once again this fall.

As Hamsterwatch reports, having followed the nearly impossible-to-follow barrage of stuff, the mentors are thought to be Janelle Pierzina (who got caught faking a tweet), Dan Gheesling, and Mike “Boogie” Malin.

Today, former cast member Dick Donato didn’t name names, but said the mentor twist was happening. “I’m going to confirm the rumors,” he says at the end of the video, which is all you need to watch. “There are producers that are leaking information, and I’ve been getting e.mails, and those are exactly what has been out there.” He calls it “the worst-kept secret in Big Brother history.”

Ultimately, though, it seems to have worked in terms of getting people talking and engaged weeks before the show actually debuts.

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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.