Big Brother changes its game for season 16

With the finalists sequestered, the Big Brother 16 twists were announced today, and they somewhat significantly alter the core game that has been played for most of the show’s life.

Each week, two players will win Head of Household, but that will not come with immunity; each will nominate two people. The other twists only had vague explanations: “Team America” is “a unique opportunity to significantly influence the game from home” (presumably other than voting for some clever food for people to eat) and the “Battle of the Block,” “which will dramatically shift the power in the house each week.”

Host Julie Chen revealed this briefly on The Talk today, and linked the HOH’s lack of immunity to the new Battle of the Block competition.

Allison Grodner said/hoped in a press release that the new contestants “will need to throw out any pre-existing strategy if they want to survive in the game,” and that may not just be press release hyperbole.

Having double the number of possible evictees every week is a smart move; one of the game’s consistent problems has been having only two nominees, which lends itself to a surprisingly predictable series of events: back-dooring people, using one nominee as a goat, et cetera.

The release also said that this year’s house will be a “whimsical urban tree house-themed dwelling,” and pictures make it look like a smart makeover, thanks to backgrounds that make it appear as though there are clouds and or trees beyond the walls.

CBS previously announced that the live feeds won’t start until the end of the second night, which will be an “all-nighter,” likely some kind of competition. The network is also doubling-down on using former cast member Jeff Schroeder, who will be doing all kinds of things, from live tweeting to hosting a pre-show to training the houseguests how to say bigoted things and stay on CBS’ payroll.

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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.