reality TV reviews and news

Big Brother’s Grodner, Meehan on live feed cuts, manipulation: “We’re not trying to hide anything”

For years, I’ve had questions about Big Brother, the reality show I usually love to hate and sometimes actually love. Last month, I got the chance to ask a few of those to executive producers Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan, who formed Fly on the Wall Entertainment together last year. My interview came a few days after Grodner’s conversation with critics about houseguests’ bigotry, feed watchers, and more, so I didn’t rehash those points, even though we obviously disagree and have different perspectives about those topics.

Just as I appreciated the way they allowed me and other critics to tour the house in the middle of this season, I also appreciated that Grodner and Meehan were willing to engage me in conversation, and even when I asked the most confrontational questions, they didn’t seem like they were trying to be deceptive. Ultimately, I think they just believe what they’re saying, and believe what they’re doing is best for the show. The reality probably lies somewhere between their perspective, which is tinted from being immersed in the production 24/7, and the conspiracy theories that float around online.

They also talked to me for about 15 minutes–a really long time in this sort of context. As to that, the interview took place in the middle of a packed, incredibly noisy tiny hotel bar that was hosting a Sony event for TV critics. I point that out because listening to my questions, I’m frustrated with my own journalism; there are follow-ups I should have asked and other questions I wish we’d gotten to, but here it is. Finally, this interview was conducted about a month ago, at the beginning of August, when this season seemed to peak, so I wasn’t focused as I would be now on asking why this season was so awful.

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