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Big Brother behind the scenes: secrets and facts about the CBS reality competition

Big Brother is a summer staple for CBS, and for reality TV: a competition that spans three months that can be watched online 24/7, and three times a week on television.

Let’s look behind the mirrored windows to explore what happens behind the scenes on Big Brother, from casting to the house design, the producers’ decisions to the live feeds.

Big Brother’s producers and CBS’ CEO answer questions

Big Brother executive producers Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan. (Photos from Fly on the Wall Entertainment)

One way to learn about what happens behind the scenes is to ask the people who are responsible for producing the show. Its producers and network executives—even the person who runs CBS—have given insight throughout the show’s history.

During season 12, after TV critics toured the house, executive producer and showrunner Allison Grodner talked to TV critics about the show. Among the things she said:

I interviewed Grodner and her producing partner, Rich Meehan, a few times, and have asked them about things including:

Finally, former CBS CEO Les Moonves—who is married to Big Brother host Julie Chen Moonves—talked publicly about the show when he was running the network.

Specifically, he defended it during the season of bigotry, BB15. He also said he watched every episode of Big Brother.

Two years later, he criticized the casting of BB17.

Moonves left CBS in the fall of 2018 after multiple women said he sexually harassed and/or violently assaulted them, and also retaliated against them.

Host Julie Chen Moonves started using her husband’s last name on the air during that time, and return for Celebrity Big Brother season two and Big Brother 21.

Thoughts and ideas about BB

I’ve published quite a few essays and arguments about the show over the years—some written by me, and some written by others.

Here are a selection of those:

Updated June 2020.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.