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Big Brother - Reality TV

Updated on July 29, 2023
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I work at home as a freelance writer. I enjoy reading, writing, and television.

About the Big Brother Series

Big Brother on CBS comes on every summer. It usually begins in June or July and finishes around mid-September. The reality game show (which aired its first season in 2000) is about a group of people from all over the U.S. who come into a house for approximately 3 months to compete in challenges and hopefully win the prize of $500,000. The runner up wins $50,000. Every week, someone is voted out -- until the end when the final 3 compete in a 3-part competition. The last 6-9 people (depending on cast size) voted out go to the jury house. The person from the final 3 who isn't picked to be in the final 2 joins them. (In the first few seasons they didn't have this option, so everyone voted.) The jury then asks the final 2 some questions. Based on their answers, combined with their gameplay throughout the season, each jury member votes for who they want to win. Whoever gets the most votes wins the ultimate prize!


Throughout the game, there are many competitions. The first kind are food competitions. During the first 6 seasons those who lost had to eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the week. Now they have to eat what is called "slop", which some houseguests have described as similar to oatmeal. Other times, they have food competitions to get special rare items for the house. They might get some beer or the chance to barbecue on a grill, for example.

There is also the Head of Household competition, which is the most important. Every week a new HOH is in power. They nominate two people to go "on the block". Then there is a veto competition. Whoever wins the "power of veto" gets to choose to keep the nominations the same or take one person off the block. If they take someone off, the HOH then has to pick a replacement nominee. At the end of the week, the houseguests have to vote on who they want to go home.

Each season has new twists, some of which involve special competitions that are only held for that summer, such as Battle of the Block.


Julie Chen Hosts the Show

Host, Julie Chen Moonves
Host, Julie Chen Moonves

About the Chenbot

Julie Chen, 53, is the host of Big Brother and has been since the very first season. She's now lovingly referred to as the Chenbot. She was also a co-anchor on The Early Show on CBS. Chen co-hosted several seasons of the CBS talk-show, The Talk, that discusses controversial contemporary issues. That was, until her husband left the company following accusations of sexual misconduct. She continued hosting Big Brother, but began announcing herself as Julie Chen Moonves, in support of her husband, instead of just Julie Chen as she had for the rest of her career.

Big Brother Has Had 3 Versions

Big Brother logos
Big Brother logos

More About the Various Shows and Seasons

Since its start in 2000, Big Brother has aired 24 regular seasons, 3 seasons of Celebrity Big Brother, and one season of the CBS All Access option, Big Brother: Over the Top. The 22nd regular season was the second All-Stars version.

Six seasons aired and then the seventh was an All-Stars version. It brought back some of the most notable players from 2000-2006.

Season 8 aired in the regular summer block, but Season 9 had to air in the winter while there was a writer's strike going on. Scripted shows could not be completed so a second installment of Big Brother graced our screens in February 2008.

Seasons 10 through 18 came on in the summer as normal. Big Brother: Over the Top then became available through the All Access app in the fall of 2016, soon after BB 18 ended. BB19 arrived in summer '17, followed by a winter version called Celebrity Big Brother. BB 20 in '18 was also followed by a winter Celebrity BB version. 2019 saw Big Brother 21 with no winter option to follow.

The 22nd season of Big Brother began on August 5th, 2020. COVID-19 pushed the date back, but CBS finally announced plans for its new season. It had been 20 years since the show began, so it was only fitting that its 20th anniversary be an All-Stars version. CBS boasted "winners, finalists, legends... and memorable personalities." The 23rd season went back to an all-new cast, airing in summer 2021.

The following winter, in February 2022, a third Celebrity Big Brother aired. Fans weren't sure it was going to come back, but it did once again. Season 24 of the regular version then arrived in the summer of 2022.

By the time Season 25 was set to air, another writer's strike occurred. This prompted CBS to push their summer show back closer to the fall so there would be something to watch, since no scripted shows will be able to air. Big Brother 25 begins on August 2nd and should run into November.

Big Brother Winners

COVID-19 Halted Production in 2020

Big Brother typically starts earlier in the summer, but COVID-19 halted production during 2020. The plan was up in the air until finally on July 23rd CBS announced a second All-Stars version for the 20th anniversary edition. Big Brother 22 began on August 5th, 2020, with the houseguests coming in small groups at a time, all wearing masks. The distance from the guests on stage to Julie Chen when they were voted out continued through Season 24 and Celebrity Big Brother season 3 while the pandemic was still on-going.

A Writer's Strike Pushed the Show Back in 2023

In May 2023, the Writer's Guild of America went on strike. Writers were not receiving fair compensation for streaming and had concerns about the use of AI to replace them, among other things. With the strike still ongoing by July, there was no way any scripted shows could be written, filmed, and ready to air by the usual fall season. For that reason, CBS decided to push Big Brother back closer to the fall so viewers still had something to watch. It will now run from August to November. The details for the season have not yet been released. They also aired a 25th Anniversary Special one week prior on July 26th to commemorate 25 seasons of the show. Some BB winners and fan favorites participated.

Who else, besides me, is a fan of Big Brother on CBS?

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How many seasons of Big Brother have you watched?

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This content was accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge at the time of publication but may be out of date. The information contained in this article may not reflect current policies, laws, technology, or data.

© 2012 Brandi Goodman


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