Most of the Big Brother U.S. and Canada winners have been ranked, and CBS season five winner Drew Daniel ranks as the most-successful winner.
Of course, all of these people won, and Big Brother is anything but a consistent or predictable game, but it’s interesting to see the differences in their games reduced to numbers.
The author of this analysis of winners, Matt Wilson (@ItsMattWilson), told me that the project began while he was applying for Big Brother Canada. “One of the things that has nagged me was, How did previous winners get to the final 3 or final 2? Could someone make it to the end without winning anything? The spreadsheet started as a way to track the ages of the winners.” He added to his data from there:
“I then wanted to track who won HOHs and VETOs and when, and if they were ever nominated, I would subtract that from their HOH & VETO score. Socially, everything varies week to week. The one thing I could quantify is the number of houseguests still in the house.
Now, I’m no math wiz–I would not be surprised if my methodology is greatly flawed, but at the very least this might lead to a general idea of why Hayden might be a better player than Rachel, for example.”
Here’s his methodology, for those who might want to learn more or challenge it:
For HOH wins, I add up the odds of winning and multiply it by 10 just to get the score up a bit and out of fractions of zero.
For VETO wins, I add up the odds of winning VETOs and multiply it by 5, again to get the score up a bit. I arbitrarily picked 5 because I thought that winning the VETO would be the next best thing to wining HOH and thus worth half as much. Again, stats in math was never one of my strong suits in school.
That leaves up with NOMs, or nominations. Again, I’m adding up all the odds of being nominated and multiplying it by 1/3 or 1/2–the larger of these two gets subtracted from each player’s score. Multiplying it by 1/3 means that either you stay, you go, or you win VETO. Multiplying it by 1/2 is done after the VETO ceremony because you have a 1-2 chance of going home. I have to ignore the social aspect of the NOMS (pawns and ‘going with the house’ votes) and strictly run the numbers.
So, in the case of Hayden vs Rachel, one could say numerically, Hayden was better than Rachel because
- Hayden won more HOHs when it was worth more to win the HOHs – towards the end of the game
- Rachel was nominated more towards the middle of the game, where hiding behind numbers was tougher–she was also nominated an extra time, which subtracts from her player score
- Hayden’s one single VETO win was worth more than Rachel’s double VETO win because it again occurred towards the end of the game where it was worth more
Finally, here were Matt’s conclusions about winning the game:
“Players should plan on winning some competitions, but not all are necessary – try to win HOHs and VETOs later in the game and explain to the jury why these wins are worth more at the end, rather than the beginning.
Being nominated is not the end of the world. If you are nominated, you will probably stay nominated unless you win VETO or your social game is good enough so that someone else will use the VETO on you (some winners stay nominated after the VETO ceremony)–see Jordan and Rachel.
Expect to be nominated for eviction at least once. The further you get through the game without being nominated, the more likely you will be nominated at the very end – unless your name is Drew–see Derrick.
There has yet to be a winner who has not won at least one HOH.
Winners are usually judged not by their ability to win VETOs, but rather their ability to not be nominated.”
Ultimately, Matt told me, “This certainly gave me a better perspective on how to remain calm when the in-house losses add up.”
Big Brother winners, ranked
Here’s the final list, which excludes seasons one and two of the CBS show because the format was different and didn’t make a direct comparison possible:
- Drew Daniel, Big Brother 5 [8.8, 4x HOH, 0x NOM, 1x VETO]
- Hayden Moss, Big Brother 12 [8.6, 4x HOH, 2x NOM, 1x VETO]
- Ian Terry, Big Brother 14 [8.5, 4x HOH, 2x NOM, 2x VETO]
- Jon Pardy, Big Brother Canada 2 [8.5, 3x HOH, 1x NOM, 3x VETO]
- Andy Herren, Big Brother 15 [8.3, 3x HOH, 1x NOM, 2x VETO]
- Dan Gheesling, Big Brother 10 [7.9, 3x HOH, 2x NOM, 2x VETO]
- Mike Malin, Big Brother 7 [7.1, 3x HOH, 2x NOM, 1x VETO]
- Rachel Reilly, Big Brother 13 [6.6, 4x HOH, 4x NOM, 2x VETO]
- Dick Donato, Big Brother 8 [5.8, 3x HOH, 3x NOM, 1x VETO]
- Jillian MacLaughlin, Big Brother Canada 1 [4.9, 4x HOH, 1x NOM, 0x VETO]
- Sarah Hanlon, Big Brother Canada 3 [3.9 2x HOH, 3x NOM, 1x VETO]
- Lisa Donahue, Big Brother 3 [3.6 2x HOH, 2x NOM, 1x VETO***]
- Derrick Levasseur, Big Brother 16, [3.6 3x HOH, 1x NOM, 0x VETO]
- Jordan Lloyd, Big Brother 11 [3.3 1x HOH, 4x NOM, 1x VETO]
- Adam Jasinski, Big Brother 9 [2.4 2x HOH, 2x NOM, 1x VETO***]
- Jun Song, Big Brother 4 [0.3 1x HOH, 3x NOM, 1x VETO]
- Maggie Ausburn, Big Brother 6 [-0.6 1x HOH, 3x NOM, 1x VETO]
Season 1 & 2 omitted due to show format changes
** HOH, NOM & VETO weighed over player position in house
over time (the later the HOH or VETO win, the higher the score)
*** Lisa edges out over Adam for winning HOH latest in game