In this edition of The Confessional, an argument for how Big Brother could change everything but keep the same elements.
Big Brother is a dynamic reality game show. With the weekly show, After Dark, and the online feeds, it brings countless hours of entertainment into our homes and can be enjoyed by the audience on varying levels, depending on how much the user wants to delve into its depths.
But, even though I love the show, I have to say one thing about it: Big Brother has it all backwards.
If the producers simply hit the rewind button and played the game each week in reverse, it would make for a more difficult and highly interesting game. It’s a strange thought, but bear with me.
Flip the Big Brother formula
First, let’s look at the original formula. We are all familiar with the weekly setup—some of us all too well. But, just in case, here is a recap:
- A competition is held to crown a Head of Household.
- The HOH nominates two houseguests for eviction.
- A Power of Veto competition is played.
- After the POV ceremony, the houseguests vote to evict one of the two nominees.
What would happen if this weekly formula was reversed?
Instead of everyone voting one of two players out at the end of the week, start with having each and every houseguest cast a vote to put any one of the other houseguests—except the previously reigning HOH who is exempt for that week—on the block.
This way, in the days leading up to the vote, rather than players kowtowing to one HOH of the week, it’s in their immediate best interest to appeal to everyone in the whole house to reduce their risk of being put on the block.
At the end of the “nomination for eviction vote,” the two players who receive the most votes are on the block.
Next would be the POV competition, which would be conducted using the same basic format as usual. The HOH and the two nominees compete after drawing names of the other houseguests to compete with them. The winner has the option of using the POV to remove one of the nominees from the block, or decline using it and keep the nominations as they are.
If the power is used to save one of the nominees, it is then revealed which houseguest received the third greatest number of votes during the “nomination for eviction” vote and that person becomes the replacement nominee. The POV winner is always exempt from being the replacement nominee. Also, in the event of a tie for third place, there would need to be some kind of tie breaker.
Right after the nominations for eviction are finalized it’s time for the Head of Household competition. With the exception of the outgoing HOH, all of the remaining houseguests, including the two nominees, participate in the competition.
If one of the nominees wins HOH, they are off the block and a new vote is cast immediately for their replacement. The only person safe from the block in this vote is the POV winner and newly crowned HOH. (Note: At this point, the HOH from the week before loses their immunity. This leaves a backdoor opportunity since they had immunity with the first round of votes for the week.)
When it comes time for the live eviction, the new HOH makes the final decision. It is their vote alone that sends one of the two nominees out the door of the Big Brother house.
Big Brother in reverse = a more challenging social game
To recap the game in reverse:
- Nomination for eviction vote. Each houseguest casts their private vote naming any single houseguest, other than the current HOH, to become one of the two new nominees for eviction. The two houseguests who receive the most votes go on the block for potential elimination from the house.
- The POV competition and ceremony. If the POV is used to take one of the nominees off the block, the houseguest who got the 3rd greatest number of votes, during that week’s nomination vote, automatically becomes the replacement nominee.
- A new Head of Household competition.
- The HOH casts the sole vote to evict. At the next live eviction episode, the HOH decides which of the two nominees leaves the Big Brother house immediately.
This could lead to some interesting complications for the houseguests. For instance, an HOH might have to face the difficulty of having to send home one of their two friends or allies who end up on the block together. This could also mean that a person could go from being on the block to HOH in the same week.
Also, if the POV replacement nominee were kept secret from the house until after the POV was used, it could lead to some wild speculation and lying. It would also be harder to know if it was in one’s best interest to use the POV or not.
Big Brother is already the hardest social game in reality TV. But, if the format were reversed this could be a game twist that would change many players’ social dynamics and give even the most knowledgeable super fans of the show a totally new challenge.