Big Brother reveals a death to a second houseguest

For the second time in less than one week, Big Brother 16 informed a contestant about the death of a family member and later broadcast that tragic news. Both times, that death was of a grandfather: first Frankie Grande’s grandfather died, which he learned of last Wednesday, and then on Friday, Derrick Lavasseur was told his grandfather died that morning. The day before, Derrick actually threw the live HOH challenge so Frankie could win and see a photo of his grandfather.

Both Frankie and Derrick were told via letters delivered in the diary room, and both referenced the fact that the letters contained messages from family about wanting them to continue playing the game.

This is notable because it happened on the same series that keeps its cast in such isolation that the final three in season two weren’t immediately told about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and even then, only told a limited version—though one cast member, Monica, was told her cousin was missing. (Her cousin, Tamitha Freeman, died in the second World Trade Center tower.)

In my memory, never before has a houseguest been told about external events, perhaps because nothing of this scale has happened to anyone. The only thing close is when, three years ago, Dick Donato left for unexplained “personal reasons.”

As Derrick said on Wednesday’s episode, it “just puts in perspective how much we’re missing.”

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.