Big Brother (TV series)

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Television

Big Brother is a reality television show. In each series, which lasts for around three months, a number of people (normally fewer than fifteen at any one time) live together full-time in a "Big Brother House", isolated from the outside world but under the continuous gaze of television cameras. The housemates try to win a cash prize by avoiding periodic, usually publicly-voted, evictions from the house. The idea for "Big Brother" came during a brainstorm session at the production house of John de Mol Produkties (an independent part of Endemol) on Thursday, September 4, 1997. The working title of the new format was "de Gouden Kooi" ( The Golden Cage). The first Big Brother broadcast was in the Netherlands in 1999 on the Veronica TV channel. It has been a prime-time hit in almost 70 different countries. The show's name comes from George Orwell's 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which Big Brother is the all-seeing leader of the dystopian Oceania.


Though each country has made its own adaptations and changes to the format, the general concept has stayed the same: "housemates" are confined to a specially designed house where their every action is recorded by cameras and microphones at all times; and the housemates are not permitted any contact with the outside world (although some exceptions have been made; see isolation).

In most versions, at regular intervals, normally once weekly (although in most early series it was every two weeks), the public is invited to vote to have one of a number of nominated housemates evicted from the House. In some cases, two housemates may be evicted simultaneously (a "double eviction"), or rarely, no housemates will be removed for that week. At the end of the game, the last remaining housemate is declared winner of that particular series, and receives prizes; often including a large amount of money, a car, a holiday, and in some editions, a house.

From a sociological perspective, this format can be analyzed to see how people react when brought into contact to and forced into close confinement with people who lie outside their "comfort zone", since they may hold different opinions to other contestants, express different ideals, or simply be from a different group of people that a contestant is used to. The format is ideally suited because the viewer sees how a person reacts on the outside through the constant recording of their actions, and also what they feel on the inside through the Diary Room. The results can often result in violent or angry confrontations, which not only proves a theory that people are likely to react to threats through outbursts of violence or loud expressions of opinion, but also provides entertainment to a baying public.

Besides living together under continuous observation, which is the major attraction of the contest, the program relies on four basic props: the stripped-bare back to basics environment in which they live, the evictions system, the weekly tasks set by Big Brother, and the "Diary Room", in which the housemates individually convey their thoughts, feelings, frustrations and their eviction nominees.

In the first of most Big Brother seasons, the House that the housemates had to live in for the duration of the competition was very basic. Although essential amenities such as running water, furniture and a limited ration of food were provided, luxury items were often forbidden. This added an element of survival into the show, thus increasing the potential for tensions within the house. Now almost every country has a modern house for the contest, with a jacuzzi, a sauna, a VIP suite, a loft, and other luxuries.

The housemates are required to do any housework as they see fit, and are set tasks by the producers of the show, who communicate with the housemates via the omnipresent authority figure known only to them as "Big Brother". The tasks set are designed to test their team-working abilities and community spirit, and in some countries the housemates' shopping budget or weekly allowance often depends on the outcome of any set tasks. The housemates have a weekly allowance with which they can buy food and other essentials.

At regular intervals, the housemates each privately nominate a number of fellow housemates that they wish to see evicted from the house. The housemates with the most nomination points are then named announced, and viewers are given the opportunity to vote for whom they wish to see evicted. After the votes are tallied, the "evictee" leaves the house and is interviewed live by the host of the show, usually in front of a live studio audience.

The series is notable for involving the Internet. Although the show typically broadcasts daily updates in the evening, sometimes criticized for its heavy editing, viewers can also watch a continuous, 24-hour feed from multiple cameras on the web. These websites were highly successful, even after some national series started charging for access to the video stream. In some countries, the Internet broadcasting was supplemented by updates via email, WAP and SMS. The House is even shown live on satellite television, although in some countries (such as the UK) with a 10-15 minute delay, to allow libelous or unacceptable content — such as references to people who are not taking part in the program and have therefore not consented to have personal information about them broadcast — to be removed.

Despite derision from many intellectuals and other critics, the show has been a commercial success around the world. More generally, the voyeuristic nature of the show, where contestants volunteer to surrender their privacy in return for minor celebrity status and a comparatively small cash prize, has attracted much scorn. On numerous occasions, participants in the various series have become sexually involved with each other, sometimes engaging in intercourse in front of Big Brother's cameras. Each edition handles this differently, with some editions such as the British and American editions not broadcasting such material, and others such as the German version doing so; the Internet stream also captures such moments. This had led to some controversy with some jurisdictions such as Greece attempting to have the show removed from the airwaves.

Most international versions of the show remain quite similar to each other in that their main format remains true to the original fly on the wall, observational style, with the emphasis being on human relationships. This is carried out to the extent of where contestants are forbidden from discussing nominations or voting strategy altogether. The U.S. version, however, has since 2001 taken on a significantly different format from the others, with a far stronger emphasis on strategy, competition and voting.

Isolation of housemates

The housemates are, for the most part, completely isolated within the house. They are allowed no access to television, radio or the Internet, and are not allowed any form of communications with the outside world, or other media. In some shows, even books and writing material are not permitted, with the exception of religious materials such as the Bible or Quran. Part of the reason for this is the nature of the social experiment, which aims to discover how people act in isolation from "normal" outside influences, and also to prevent introverts from hiding in a book or movie to escape the other contestants. A second reason is to ensure fairness within the game. A great deal of content is available to the public either on TV or the Internet, allowing viewers to understand much more than the players, so providing players with media access could allow them to gain an unfair advantage in the game.

Contestants are not completely isolated. They have regular scheduled interactions with the show's host, and throughout each day the program's producer, via the "Big Brother" voice, instructs the contestants in various matters, and sometimes issues tasks and commands them to take certain actions. Private chats with a psychologist are allowed at any time, often by means of a telephone in the Diary Room.

Variations in the format

Location of different versions of Big Brother
  • There are six special pan-regional versions of Big Brother. All these follow the normal Big Brother rules with the exception that contestants come from different countries in the region where it airs:
  • In the third UK series, Big Brother set live tasks for the housemate on a Saturday night in order to win treats. This format was discontinued in the fifth series due to poor ratings. This format has been used in Australia in the form of Friday Night Live.
  • The fifth UK edition introduced the "Evil" touch, whereby the character of Big Brother became almost a villain. Big Brother was establishing punishments and was proposing hard tasks and secret tricks. This was also seen in Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Pacific, Scandinavia, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, Philippines, and Mexico.
  • The sixth UK series introduced secret missions where housemate would be able to win luxuries if they completed a secret task set by Big Brother.
  • In the seventh UK series, Big Brother became "twisted". Every week, housemates mental states were put to the test as Big Brother tried to break them. As a result of this many housemates broke down and one even threatened to commit suicide.
  • The eighth UK Series saw an all-female house however 3 days later 1 male housemate entered
  • The UK series always opens with a twist which have included First Night Nominations ( BB4), Transexual entrances and Suit Case Nominations ( BB5), Unlucky Housemate 13 ( BB6), Big Brother Hood and a person suffering From Tourette's ( BB7), an all-female House and twins' entrance ( BB8), Jackie Stallone rumored to be entering( CBB3), entrance of a non-celebrity in a celebrity edition ( CBB4) Jade Goody's family announced to be visiting. ( CBB5). Many countries have followed these opening night twists such as Australia and the United States.
  • The fifth UK edition introduced "Fake evictions" where one or two housemates are "evicted"; however, unbeknownst to the housemates, they have in fact not been evicted. The housemate/s usually are put into a secret house where numerous twists happen. In the eighth UK Series one housemate was evicted, interviewed, and then sent straight back into the house. The housemates in the house got to see everything live, though.
  • In France and Canada, the format has been developed using couples. Twelve single people stay in the same house until only the winning couple are left.
  • Big Brother USA currently uses a different set of rules that began with the second season (the first season used the traditional format). Nominations are done by one houseguest, the Head of Household (HoH) and the houseguests vote for which nominee to evict, not the viewers. The third season introduced the Power of Veto, where a houseguest can save a nominee causing the Head of Household to name a replacement nominee. It's been adapted in Brazil and Africa and since then some countries modified their nominations rules.
  • The eighth American season, introduced "America's Player", a houseguest that is given assignments, unknown to the other houseguests, through votes from the viewing public. Included in the public voting is which nominated houseguest America's Player should vote off and campaign to get evicted.
  • The third Dutch edition introduced the notion of "The Battle", in which the house is separated into a luxurious half and a poor half, with two teams of housemates constantly fighting for time in the luxurious half. Separated houses have also been used in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Scandinavia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. Australia, Italy, Philippines and Mexico added punishment zones to their houses.
  • In 2004, the fifth German edition was the first version to run for 365 days consecutively. In this season, the contestants were separated into three teams (rich, regular, survivor) and equivalent living areas. The ultimate winner got a prize of 1,000,000 €.
  • Also in Germany a new version of the show started: Big Brother - Das Dorf (Big Brother - The Village). It was the sixth season and started the same day season 5 ended. This was the first version supposed to run for years (without a predetermined end). It was set in a small artificial village including a church tower, a marketplace, 3 houses, 3 working areas (farm, car garage, dressmaking and later a small hotel, where celebrities from the real world could move into), a matcharena, a pub and a fitness room. The season ended after 363 days in February 2006 because of low ratings. In season seven RTL II switched back to a traditional version.
  • The Voice Graph system in BB Argentina, BB Australia & BB Germany.
  • The fourth Greek season introduced a new element: the mother. In Big Mother nine housemates take part in the game with their mothers, with whom they must coexist during the contest. The "mamas" were not able to win the prize but they would stay with their children until their eviction. However, this proved to be a failure with the show's audience and the show switched back to the traditional Big Brother format in mid-season.
  • Introduced in the fifth season of the American series, several countries have included twins, and in some cases triplets, in their shows. Series that have used Housemates who are twins or triplets are:
    • USA, 2004, Adria Montgomery-Klein and Natalie Montgomery-Carroll, 7th (Natalie) and 8th (Adria) Evicted, Used Name: "Adria".
    • Australia, 2005, David and Greg Matthew, 14th Evicted (David) and Winner (Greg, although the prize money was split), Used Name: "Logan" (Middle name of both Twins).
    • Bulgaria, 2006, Lyubov, Nadejda, and Vyara Stancheva, 7th (Nadejda) and 9th (Vyara) Evicted, Winner (Lyubov), Used Name: "Vyara".
    • UK, 2007, Amanda and Sam Marchant, 2nd Place (Both were treated separately until Day 68 when they became one).
    • France, 2007, Marjorie, Cyrielle and Johanna Bluteau, Winner (Marjorie, as she was the only one eligible for the grand prize).
    • Spain, 2007, Conchi and Pamela De Los Santos, 2nd Place, Used Name: "Rosa".
    • Poland, 2007, Aneta and Martyna Bielecka, 4th Evicted (They were discovered as twins), Used Name: "Martyna".
  • The seventh season of Big Brother Australia focused upon environmental issues, the house fitted with rainwater tanks and a majority of the furniture being built entirely from recycled materials.

Special editions of Big Brother

Big Brother VIP / Celebrity Big Brother

The Big Brother format has been adapted in some countries in that the housemates are locally known celebrities. These shows are called Celebrity Big Brother or Big Brother VIP, depending on where the series is. In some countries, the prize money normally awarded to the winning housemate is donated to a charity, and all celebrities are paid to appear in the show as long as they do not voluntarily leave before their eviction or the end of the series. The rest of the format rules are almost the same as the ones from the original version, although in many occasions they are not so strict due to the exceptional character of the program. The series has been a prime-time hit in many countries and was aired for the first time in 2000, in the Netherlands.

  • A second variant appeared in the Netherlands in 2006: Hotel Big Brother. A group of celebrity hoteliers and a Big Boss run a hotel, collecting money for charity without nominations, evictions or winner.
  • A third variant appeared in the UK in early 2008: Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, replacing the 2008 edition of Celebrity Big Brother. Instead of the celebrities playing the role of housemates, the celebrities will in fact become Big Brother himself. The celebrities create tasks, hold nominations, etc. with the help of Big Brother. The housemates of the show are considered by the producers "Britain's most exceptional and extraordinary" 18-21 year olds. The prize for the winner of the series was £50,000.

Other editions

The Big Brother format has been extensively modified in some countries, most often to the point where the housemates are either teenagers or housemates from previous seasons. The winners of these seasons are often eligible to win the prize for themselves, unlike most of the celebrity edition versions.

  • Big Brother: Ty wybierasz (Big Brother: You Decide - Poland, season 1: 13 days; season 2: 7 days). A group of people -10 in season 1 and 6 in season 2- living together and competing for a pair of spots in the next regular season. It was made before the first two main Big Brother seasons. Without nominations or evictions.
  • Big Brother, Tilbake I Huset (Big Brother, Back In The House - Norway, 9 days). The BB1 Norway housemates living together again. They also welcome 4 new housemates, who are competing for a spot in the next regular season. Without nominations or evictions.
  • Big Brother Stjärnveckan (Big Brother, Week Of Stars - Sweden, 6 days); Big Brother, Reality All Star (Denmark, 32 days). Season with contestants from several reality shows, including Big Brother.
  • Big Brother Panto (United Kingdom, 11 days). Housemate from previous series spent time in the Big Brother House in order to perform a pantomime at the end of the series.
  • Teen Big Brother (United Kingdom, 10 days; Philippines, 42 days). Teenage housemates competing in a BB house.
  • Big Brother: All-Stars (Belgium, 21 days; United States, 72 days). Big Brother where all the housemates come from previous seasons of the contest.
  • Veliki Brat: Generalna Proba (Big Brother Try Out - Serbia, 7 days). Twelve Serbian contestants competing for a spot in the next Big Brother Balkans season. Without nominations or evictions.
  • Big Brother: The Housemates Strike Back (Bulgaria). Big Brother brought together Housemates from all Big Brother and VIP Brother seasons in Bulgaria and gave them their last task - to destroy the House. The new Housemates will be living in a new one.

Also, there are a series of pre-seasons with the only objective of testing the house. A group of celebrities or journalists living together in the house during a few days. No competition nor winner. It has been made in Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, Pacific, Philippines, Spain and many other countries. In some cases, it is not broadcast) eg UK .

Big Brother series

Region/Country Local Title Network Winners Main Presenters

Flag of Angola Flag of Botswana Flag of Ghana
Flag of Kenya Flag of Malawi Flag of Namibia
Flag of Nigeria Flag of South Africa Flag of Tanzania
Flag of Uganda Flag of Zambia Flag of Zimbabwe
African Continent

Big Brother Africa
Season 2 website

Season 1, 2003: Flag of Zambia Cherise Makubale
Season 2, 2007: Flag of Tanzania Richard Dyle Bezuidenhout

Season 1:Mark Pilgrim
Season 2:Kabelo "KB" Ngakane

Flag of Albania Albania Big Brother Top Channel

Season 1, 2008: Upcoming season

Flag of Argentina Argentina

Gran Hermano (Big Brother)
Official website


Season 1, 2001: Marcelo Corazza
Season 2, 2001: Roberto Parra
Season 3, 2002-2003: Viviana Colmenero
Season 4, 2007: Marianela Mirra
Season 5, 2007: Esteban Morais
Season 6, February 2008: Upcoming Season

Soledad Silveira (2001-2003)
Jorge Rial (2007) Unknown (2008)

Gran Hermano Famosos (VIP)

Official website


Season 1, 2007: Diego Leonardi

Jorge Rial
Flag of Australia Australia Big Brother Australia
Official website
Network Ten
TV 2 (New Zealand)

Season 1, 2001: Ben Williams
Season 2, 2002: Peter Corbett
Season 3, 2003: Regina Bird
Season 4, 2004: Trevor Butler
Season 5, 2005: Greg Mathew
Season 6, 2006: Jamie Brooksby
Season 7, 2007: Aleisha Cowcher
Season 8, 2008: Upcoming Season

Gretel Killeen (2001-2007)
Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O (2008-)

Celebrity Big Brother Network Ten Season 1, 2002: Dylan Lewis Gretel Killeen
Flag of Belgium Belgium

Big Brother
Official website

Kanaal Twee

Season 1, 2000: Steven Spillebeen
Season 2, 2001: Ellen Dufour
Season 3, 2002: Kelly Vandevenne
Season 4, 2003: Kristof van Camp
Season 5, 2006: Kirsten Janssens
Season 6, 2007: Diana Ferrante

Walter Grootaers
Big Brother VIPs
Official website
Kanaal Twee

Season 1, 2001: Sam Gooris
Season 2, 2006: Pim Symoens

Big Brother All Stars Kanaal Twee

Season 1, 2003: Heidi Zutterman

Flag of Brazil Brazil Big Brother
Official website
Rede Globo

Season 1, 2002: Kléber de Paula
Season 2, 2002: Rodrigo Leonel Fraga
Season 3, 2003: Dhomini Ferreira
Season 4, 2004: Cida da Silva
Season 5, 2005: Jean Wyllys
Season 6, 2006: Mara Viana
Season 7, 2007: Diego Bissolati Gasques
Season 8, 2008: Current season

Pedro Bial
Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria Big Brother
Official website

Season 1, 2004-2005: Zdravko Vasilev
Season 2, 2005: Miroslav Atanasov
Season 3, 2006: Lyubov Stancheva
Season 4, 2008: Upcoming season

Niki Kunchev (2004-) and Evelina Pavlova (2004-2005)
VIP Brother
Official website

Season 1, 2006: Konstantin Slavov
Season 2, 2007: Hristina Stefanova
Season 3, 2008: Upcoming season

Niki Kunchev (2006-) and Evelina Pavlova (2006).
Flag of Canada Canada Loft Story
Official website

Season 1, 2003: Julie Lemay & Samuel Tissot
Season 2, 2006: Mathieu Baron & Stéphanie Bélanger
Season 3, 2006: Jean-Philippe Anwar & Kim Rusk
Season 4, 2007: Mathieu Surprenant
Season 5, 2008: Upcoming season

Virginie Coossa
Flag of Colombia Colombia Gran Hermano Caracol TV

Season 1, 2003: Mónica Tejón

Adriana Arango
Carlos Calero
Flag of Croatia Croatia Big Brother
Official website

Season 1, 2004: Saša Tkalčević
Season 2, 2005: Hamdija Seferović
Season 3, 2006: Danijel Rimanić
Season 4, 2007: Vedran Lovrenčić

Season 1, 2004: Daria Knez
Season 2-4, 2005-2007: Antonija Blaće

Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Big Brother
Velký Bratr
Official website

Season 1, 2005: David Šín

Flag of Denmark Denmark Big Brother
TV Danmark

Season 1, 2001: Jill Liv Nielsen
Season 2, 2001: Carsten B. Berthelsen
Season 3, 2003: Johnni Madsen

Lisbeth Janniche
Big Brother VIP TV Danmark

Season 1, 2003: Thomas Bickham

Lisbeth Janniche
Big Brother Reality All Stars TV Danmark

Season 1, 2004: Jill Liv Nielsen (Big Brother)

Lisbeth Janniche
Flag of Ecuador Ecuador Gran Hermano Ecuavisa

Season 1, 2003: David Burbano

Flag of Finland Finland

Big Brother Finland
Official website


Season 1, 2005: Perttu Sirviö
Season 2, 2006: Sari Nygren
Season 3, 2007: Sauli Koskinen
Season 4, 2008: Upcoming Season

Vappu Pimiä and Mari Kakko (2005-2006)
Vappu Pimiä and Janne Kataja (2007-)

Flag of France France Loft Story M6

Season 1, 2001: Christophe Mercy & Loana Petrucciani
Season 2, 2002: Karine Delgado & Thomas Saillofest

Benjamin Castaldi

Secret Story
Official Website

TF1 Season 1, 2007: Marjorie, Cyrielle and Johanna Bluteau ("Les Triplées")

Season 2, 2008: Upcoming season

Benjamin Castaldi
Flag of Germany Germany

Big Brother
Official website


Season 1, 2000: John Milz
Season 2, 2000: Alida Kurras
Season 3, 2001: Karina Schreiber
Season 4, 2003: Jan Geilhufe
Season 5, 2004-2005: Sascha Sirtl
Season 6, 2005-2006: Michael Knopf
Season 7, 2007: Michael Carstensen
Season 8, 2008: Upcoming Season

Percy Hoven (2000)
Sophie Rosentreter (2000)
Oliver Geißen (2000-2001)
Aleks Bechtel (2000-2003)
Ruth Moschner (2004-2005)
Oliver Petszokat (2004-2006)
Charlotte Karlinder & Jürgen Milski (2007 & 2008)
Miriam Pielhau (2008)

Flag of Greece Greece

Big Brother
The Wall
Big Mother


Season 1, 2001: Giorgos Triantafyllidis
Season 2, 2002: Alexandros Moskhos
Season 3, 2003: Thodores Jspógloy
Season 4, 2005: Nikos Papadopoulos

Andreas Mikroutsikos (2001-2002)
Tatiana Stefanidou (2005)

Flag of Hungary Hungary Big Brother
Nagy Testvér

Season 1, 2002: Éva Párkányi
Season 2, 2003: Zsófi Horváth

Claudia Liptai & Attila Till
Big Brother VIP TV2

Season 1, 2003: No Winner
Season 2, 2003: No Winner
Season 3, 2003: No Winner

Claudia Liptai & Attila Till
Flag of Italy Italy

Grande Fratello
Official website

Canale 5

Season 1, 2000: Cristina Plevani
Season 2, 2001: Flavio Montrucchio
Season 3, 2003: Floriana Secondi
Season 4, 2004: Serena Garitta
Season 5, 2005: Flag of Israel Jonathan Kashanian
Season 6, 2006: Augusto De Megni
Season 7, 2007: Milo Coretti
Season 8, 2008: Current Season

Daria Bignardi (2000-2001)
Barbara D'Urso (2003-2004)
Alessia Marcuzzi (2006)

Flag of India India Bigg Boss
Official website
Official website

Season 1, 2006-2007: Rahul Roy
Season 2, 2008: Upcoming season

Arshad Warsi
Flag of Mexico Mexico

Big Brother México
Official website


Season 1, 2002: Rocío Cárdenas
Season 2, 2003: Silvia Irabien
Season 3, 2005: Evelyn Nieto

Adela Micha (2002-2003)
Verónica Castro (2005)

Big Brother VIP Televisa

Season 1, 2002: Galilea Montijo
Season 2, 2003: Omar Chaparro
Season 3.1, 2004: Eduardo Videgaray
Season 3.2, 2004: Roxanna Castellanos
Season 4, 2005: Sasha Sökol

Víctor Trujillo (2002)
Verónica Castro (2003-2005)

Flag of Bahrain Flag of Egypt Flag of Iraq
Flag of Jordan Flag of Kuwait Flag of Lebanon
Flag of Oman Flag of Saudi Arabia Flag of Somalia
Flag of Syria Flag of Tunisia
Middle East

Big Brother
(The Boss)


Season 1, 2004: Discontinued

Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands

Big Brother
Official website


Season 1, 1999: Bart Spring in 't Veld
Season 2, 2000: Bianca Hagenbeek
Season 3, 2001: Sandy Boots
Season 4, 2002: Jeanette Godefroy
Season 5, 2005: Joost Hoebink
Season 6, 2006: Jeroen Visser

Rolf Wouters (1999)
Daphne Deckers (1999)
Esther Duller (2000)
Beau Van Erven Doren (2000)
Patty Brard (2001)
Martijn Krabbé (2002)
Ruud de Wild (2005)
Bridget Maasland (2005-2006)

Big Brother VIPs
Hotel Big Brother
Official website

Season 1, 2000: No winner
Season 2, 2006: No winner

Caroline Tensen (2006)

Flag of Nigeria Nigeria

Big Brother Nigeria
Official website

M-Net Season 1, 2006: Katung Aduwak Olisa Adibua & Michelle Dede
Flag of Norway Norway

Big Brother Norge
Official website


Season 1, 2001: Lars Joakim Ringom
Season 2, 2002: Veronica Agnes Roso
Season 3, 2003: Eva Lill Baukhol

Arve Juritzen (2001-02)
Trygve Rønningen (2003)

Big Brother: Tilbake I Huset TVN Season 1, 2001: Leena Brekke Arve Juritzen

Flag of Chile Flag of Ecuador Flag of Peru
Pacific Region

Gran Hermano del Pacífico
Official website

Telesistema (Ecuador)
RedTV (Chile)
ATV (Peru)

Season 1, 2005: Flag of Ecuador Juan Sebastián López Álvaro García
Flag of the Philippines Philippines

Pinoy Big Brother
Official website


Season 1, 2005: Nene Tamayo
Season 2, 2007: Beatriz Saw
Season 3, 2008: Upcoming Season

Toni Gonzaga
Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition
Official website

Season 1, 2006: Keanna Reeves
Season 2, 2007-08: Ruben Gonzaga

Toni Gonzaga

Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition
Official website


Season 1, 2006: Flag of the People's Republic of China Kim Chiu
Season 2, 2008: Upcoming Season

Mariel Rodriguez
Flag of Poland Poland

Big Brother
Wielki Brat
Official website


Season 1, 2001: Janusz Dzięcioł
Season 2, 2001: Marzena Wieczorek
Season 3, 2002: Piotr Borucki
Season 4.1, 2007: Jolanta Rutowicz
Season 5, 2008: Upcoming season

Martyna Wojciechowska (2001-2002)
Grzegorz Miecugow (2001)
Andrzej Sołtysik (2001-2002)
Karina Kunkiewicz (2007)
Kuba Klawiter (2007)

Big Brother: Ty wybierasz TVN

Season 1, 2001: Małgorzata Maier & Sebastian Florek
Season 2, 2001: Barbara Knap & Jakub Jankowski

Martyna Wojciechowska
Grzegorz Miecugow

Flag of Portugal Portugal Big Brother
O Grande Irmão

Season 1, 2000-2001: Zé Maria Povinho
Season 2, 2001: Henrique Guimarães
Season 3, 2001: Catarina Eufémia
Season 4, 2003: Nando Geraldes

Teresa Guilherme
Big Brother Famosos TVI

Season 1, 2002: Ricardo Vieira
Season 2, 2002: Vítor Norte

Teresa Guilherme
Flag of Romania Romania

Big Brother
Fratele Cel Mare
Official website

Prima TV

Season 1, 2003: Soso Joi
Season 2, 2004: Iustin Popovici

Andreea Raicu
Virgil Ianțu

Flag of Russia Russia

большой брат
(Big Brother)
Official website

TNT Season 1, 2005: Anastasia Yagaylova Ingeboga Dapkunaite

Flag of Norway Flag of Sweden
Scandinavian Peninsula

Big Brother
Official Swedish website
Official Norwegian website

Kanal5 (Sweden)
TVN (Norway)

Season 1, 2005: Flag of Norway Britt Goodwin
Season 2, 2006: Flag of Sweden Jessica Lindgren

Brita Møystad Engseth (Norway)
Adam Alsing (Sweden) (2005)

Second Life Big Brother Second Life World Wide Web Season 1, 2006: Madlen Flint
Flag of Slovakia Slovakia Big Brother Súboj TV Markíza Season 1, 2005: Richard Tkáč
Flag of Slovenia Slovenia

Big Brother
Official website

Kanal A Season 1, 2007: Flag of Australia Andrej Novak

Season 2, 2008: Upcoming Season

Nina Osenar
Flag of South Africa South Africa Big Brother South Africa M-Net

Season 1, 2001: Ferdinand Rabie
Season 2, 2002: Richard Cawood

Mark Pilgrim
Gerry Rantseli

Celebrity Big Brother M-Net

Season 1, 2002: Bill Flynn

Mark Pilgrim
Gerry Rantseli

Flag of Spain Spain

Gran Hermano
Official website


Season 1, 2000: Ismael Beiro
Season 2, 2001: Flag of France Sabrina Mahi
Season 3, 2002: Javito García
Season 4, 2002-2003: Pedro Oliva
Season 5, 2003-2004: Nuria Yáñez
Season 6, 2004: Juan José Rocamora
Season 7, 2005-2006: Pepe Herrero
Season 8, 2006: Flag of Brazil Naiala Melo
Season 9, 2007: Judit Iglesias
Season 10, 2008: Upcoming Season

Mercedes Milá (2000-2002, 2003-)
Pepe Navarro (2002)

Gran hermano VIP
Official website


Season 1, 2004: Flag of France Marlene Mourreau
Season 2, 2005: Flag of Mexico Ivonne Armand

Jesús Vázquez
Flag of Sweden Sweden Big Brother Sverige
Official website

Season 1, 2000: Angelica Freij
Season 2, 2002: Ulrica Andersson
Season 3, 2003: Danne Sörensen
Season 4, 2004: Carolina Gynning

Adam Alsing (2000-2004)
Viktoria Tolstoy

Big Brother Stjärnveckan Kanal5

Season 1, 2002: Anki Lundberg (Baren)

Adam Alsing
Flag of Switzerland Switzerland Big Brother Schweiz TV3

Season 1, 2000: Daniela Kanton
Season 2, 2001: Christian Ponleitner

Daniel Fohrler (2000)
Karin Lanz (2000)
Eva Wannemacher (2001)
Yves Schifferle (2001)

Flag of Thailand Thailand Big Brother Thailand
Official website

Season 1, 2005: Nipon Perktim
Season 2, 2006: Arisa Sonthirod

Saranyu Vonkarjun
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom

Big Brother
Official website

Channel 4
Channel 4 +1
S4C (Wales)

Series 1, 2000: Flag of England Craig Phillips
Series 2, 2001: Flag of Ireland Brian Dowling
Series 3, 2002: Flag of England Kate Lawler
Series 4, 2003: Flag of Scotland Cameron Stout
Series 5, 2004: Flag of Portugal Nadia Almada
Series 6, 2005: Flag of England Anthony Hutton
Series 7, 2006: Flag of England Pete Bennett
Series 8, 2007: Flag of Nigeria Brian Belo
Series 9, 2008: Upcoming Series

Davina McCall
Celebrity Big Brother BBC One
Channel 4
S4C (Wales)

Series 1, 2001: Flag of England Jack Dee
Series 2, 2002: Flag of England Mark Owen
Series 3, 2005: Flag of England Bez Berry
Series 4, 2006: Flag of England Chantelle Houghton
Series 5, 2007: Flag of India Shilpa Shetty

Davina McCall

Teen Big Brother
Official website

Channel 4

Series 1, 2003: Flag of Ireland Paul Brennan Dermot O'Leary
Panto Big Brother Channel 4
S4C (Wales)
Series 1, 2004: No Winner Jeff Brazier
Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack E4

Channel 4
Channel 4 +1
S4C (Wales)

Series 1, 2008:Flag of Scotland John Loughton Dermot O'Leary
Flag of the United States United States

Big Brother
Official website

Global (Canada)

Season 1, 2000: Eddie McGee
Season 2, 2001: Will Kirby
Season 3, 2002: Lisa Donahue
Season 4, 2003: Jun Song
Season 5, 2004: Drew Daniel
Season 6, 2005: Maggie Ausburn
Season 8, 2007: Dick Donato
Season 9, 2008: Upcoming season

Julie Chen

Big Brother: All-Stars
Official website

Global (Canada)

Season 7, 2006: Mike "Boogie" Malin

Julie Chen

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina Flag of Montenegro Flag of Serbia
Western Balkans

Veliki brat
Official website

Pink BH (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Pink M (Montenegro)
B92 (Serbia)

Season 1, 2006: Flag of Serbia Ivan Ljuba
Season 2, 2007: Discontinued

Marijana Micic
Ana Mihajlovski

Veliki Brat Proba B92

Season 1, 2006: Flag of Serbia Jelena Provči & Flag of Serbia Marko Miljković

Marijana Micic
Veliki Brat VIP

Pink BH (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Pink M (Montenegro)
B92 (Serbia)

Season 1, 2007: Flag of Serbia Saša Ćurčić

Ana Mihajlovski

Big Brother Subtitles

These are some of the subtitles of Big Brother shows around the world. These are not the local title of the show.

Region / Country Season Subtitle
Flag of Belgium Belgium 3 Big Brother Anders
5 Zero Privacy
6 Zero Privacy
Flag of Croatia Croatia 1 Vidi sve (Sees Everything)
2 Gola istina (Naked Truth)
3 Do kraja (To The End)
4 Bez milosti! (No Mercy!)
Flag of Germany Germany 4 The Battle
6 Das Dorf (The Village)
Flag of Greece Greece 3 The Wall
4 Big Mother
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 3 The Battle
Flag of Norway Norway 3 The Wall
Flag of Poland Poland 3 Bitwa (The Battle)
Flag of Serbia Serbia 2 Očekuj neočekivano (Expect the Unexpected)
Flag of Spain Spain VIP El Desafío (The Challenge)
Flag of the United Kingdom UK 5 Big Brother Gets Evil
7 Big Brother Gets Twisted
Flag of the United States US 4 The X-Factor
5 Project DNA - Do Not Assume
6 Summer Of Secrets
7 All-Stars

Big Brother Incidents

There have been a few incidents from different countries involving Big Brother contestants, the show, and the way the program is run in general.


In Big Brother 6, two housemates, Ashley (real name Michael Cox) and John (Michael Bric), were removed from the house for allegedly sexually assaulting a female housemate, Camilla Severi, in a season of the series that had already attracted significant controversy. Following the incident the live feed was temporarily replaced by an old UpLate update of the housemates completing their football task, continuously looped, and the forums on the Big Brother website were removed. Queensland Police were shown the relevant footage but opted not to conduct a criminal investigation. Camilla finished runner-up for the series. Subsequent to this incident former housemate Rita Lazzarotto reported that she had been subjected to a similar incident during her time in the Big Brother house in the 2005 series.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard asked for Big Brother to be canceled, saying, "Here's a great opportunity for Network Ten to do a bit of self-regulation and get this stupid program off the air"; Leader of the Opposition Kim Beazley and Senator Steve Fielding supported this view. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie argued that the show employed many Australians in production and that, because of the already diminished size of the Australian television industry, the show should continue.


Big Brother 3 began on January 14, 2003, and caused controversy. Among the participants was Miss Brazil 2002, Joseane. Rules of the Miss Brazil contest forbid participation of married women, and when Joseane participated, she stated she was single. With her exposure in BBB, some magazines discovered she was married even before winning the beauty contest. Once the marriage was proven, Joseane was stripped of her crown, and Thaisa Tomsem was crowned Miss Brazil 2002. Also, participant Dilson, not knowing Joseane was married, tried to start a romantic relationship with her during the show. Due to her refusals, he felt unmotivated and left the show voluntarily. Participant Harry replaced him at February 26, and became the first participant not to enter the show on its first day.


In Big Brother 1 housemate Marco kicked fellow housemate Sónia in the stomach - this led to his ejection from the Big Brother house for aggressive behaviour.

United Kingdom

During Big Brother 4 there was a bomb scare. At 7:58 on Day 43, Big Brother asked all housemates to go to the boys bedroom until further notice because of a security alert inside the studios. The staff had left 20 minutes earlier, except for senior members of the production team who watched the housemates from behind the mirrors. The Big Brother gallery was unmanned after police advised staff to leave the house. At 8:43, Police advised the house be evacuated. But since the gallery was unmanned, Big Brother had no method of communicating with the house, so staff had to enter. Senior members of the production team lead the housemates out via the camera runs, and they were taken to a secure area on the perimeter of the studio complex with 2 chaperones and 4 security guards. At 12:49am, the housemates were allowed to return after police gave the all clear. The eviction took place the following day.

In Big Brother 5, on what is commonly referred to as 'Fight Night', volatile ex-housemates Emma Greenwood and Michelle Bass returned to the Big Brother house after a fake eviction. Some of the housemates were extremely displeased, and after a series of arguments, Greenwood and Bass along with Jason Cowan, Marco Sabba, eventual winner Nadia Almada, Vanessa Nimmo and Victor Ebuwa became involved in an aggressive brawl. Viewers of live streaming called the police to inform them of the violent activity and, for the first time in the show's history, on-set security guards were called into the house to break up the arguments.

Big Brother 6, Throughout this series there was much discussion of housemates influencing other housemates nomination. Makosi claimed that Derek had told her to turn off her microphone to discuss nominations and that Derek wrote two S's on her toes. Later on in the series Craig and Derek accused Vanessa of writing initials on their feet, however this was never proven. Big Brother 6 was also heavily criticised for the amount of nudity shown on the show; after a midnight "romp" in the pool housemate Makosi Musambasi claimed to have conceived Anthony Hutton's child and asked for a pregnancy test. In addition housemate Kinga Karolczak masturbated herself with a wine bottle in the garden.

In Celebrity Big Brother 4, housemate Pete Burns claimed that his coat was made from gorilla skin; after viewers called in to Ofcom, police removed the coat for testing. Ownership of products made from gorilla is illegal in the UK without a licence. Tests found the coat was in fact made of Colobus monkeys, another endangered species. As a result the case was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service who determined that the pelts used to make the coat were imported before 1975 (when it became illegal to import Colobus fur) and as such did not press charges. This greatly upset animal rights campaigners.

Big Brother 7 came under criticism when critics claimed that Big Brother had deliberately put unstable people into the house. Housemate Shahbaz Chauhdry referred to himself as a "Paki poof" in his audition video, upsetting the British Asian community. He also threatened to commit suicide as well as stealing all the food out of the kitchen. He decided to walk on day 4 and admitted that he was mentally unstable. 7 days into the show, housemate Dawn Blake received a message in the house from her family, via Big Brother, saying "your sister is ill". This turned out to be a code message that Dawn had organised with her family before entering the Big Brother House, that the family promised they would send to her in the house if any newspapers, magazines or other media had made disparaging comments or judgements about Dawn in the outside world, so that Dawn could then leave. Dawn let her housemates know about this to some extent when she was heard whispering to them "I have a code". The producers of the show eventually caught on and although Dawn said she was leaving anyway, when she was called to the Diary Room the following day Big Brother told her that she had broken a major rule by being in contact with the outside world, and that she was being ejected from the house. When the housemates were made aware of Dawn's rule-breaking and ejection from the house, they surmised that any person who goes into the Big Brother house is going to have both good and bad comments made about them by the media and public, and that Dawn was naïve to enter the house in the first place if this was not her expectation. The public were given the opportunity to vote a previously evicted member back into the house. Thousands of complaints were made following Nikki's return to the house claiming that Channel 4 had misled the public when she had been voted out of the house originally. ICSTIS ruled Channel 4 had breached its code and imposed £50,000 'administrative charges'.

In Celebrity Big Brother 5, a worldwide debate was created by housemates Jade Goody (who had appeared on the non-celebrity version of the show four years previously), singer Jo O'Meara and model Danielle Lloyd. The row was sparked when alleged racist comments were made about Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, who was also a housemate in the show. A record number of 45,000 complaints were recorded for the unfair behaviour, bullying and racism in the UK Big Brother House, with protests across India. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer (Now Prime Minister) Gordon Brown, visiting India at the time, found himself answering questions on Big Brother throughout his trip, and a wider debate on racism in the UK was raised by the media. The 3 housmates involved were not removed from the house, and faced eviction in the normal way, although during Jade's eviction, no crowd was present. For all 3, the normally lighthearted eviction interview was serious in tone, and began by showing clips of international news bulletins and newspaper front pages. Shilpa emerged as the winner of Celebrity Big Brother 2007. Following the incident, Channel 4 was heavily criticized by Ofcom for not acting quickly enough, and was forced to apologize on air three times. See also Celebrity Big Brother racism controversy.

In Big Brother 8, the next regular series after the race row back in January, housemate Emily Parr was removed from the house hours after using the word " nigger" towards housemate Charley Uchea. This swift action was seen as a sign from the producers that they have learned from the criticism following the Shilpa Shetty incident. During the series, the fire alarm sounded resulting in the housemates having to evacuate the building via the fire exit in the bedroom. After waiting at the security gate, they were told that everywhere had been checked and that it was safe to re-enter the house.

January 2008 saw the replacement for Celebrity Big Brother, Big Brother Celebrity Hijack. Talented housemates (all aged 19 to 21) replaced the usual celebrity line-up and the celebrities 'became' Big Brother for days at a time. The series was shown on E4 instead of Channel 4. 'Hijackers' included US comic Joan Rivers, previous Big Brother's Big Mouth presenter Russell Brand, ex-footballer Ian Wright and Little Britain star Matt Lucas. Dermot O'Leary hosted both Big Brother's Little Brother and the eviction shows, previously presented by Davina McCall. The format seemed popular with the general public and helped restore the show's reputation.

United States

In Big Brother 2 HouseGuest Justin Sebik was expelled on Day 10 for breaking Big Brother rules. Justin threatened his fellow HouseGuest with physical violence and intimidation, a violation of one of the most serious House rules.

Julie Chen, host of Big Brother, explained that Justin was given an official warning that such behaviour was not appropriate in the Big Brother house. Justin repeated the warning, proving that he understood the rule. His behaviour included destruction of house property, culminated in a final incident when he and Krista were kissing on the kitchen table and picked up a metal carpet sweeper and said to her "Would you get mad if I cracked you over the head with this?" He swung the carpet sweeper towards Krista but put it down and kissed her. He walked away from her in the kitchen and says "Would you get mad if I killed you?" He picked up a large knife, returned to Krista and while they kissed he placed the knife against her throat. He briefly took the knife away from her throat but with Krista's encouragement returned the knife to her throat and they begun kissing again. As the kiss ends he puts the knife down.

After a confrontation with the show psychologist, it was decided that Justin would be expelled from the Big Brother house. Krista Stegall later sued CBS over the incident.

In Big Brother 4 HouseGuest Scott Weintraub was expelled on Day 8 after having a violent outburst in the house relating to the season twist, X-Factor. Scott tossed furniture around the House, delivered an expletive-laden rant, and refused to go to the Diary Room when called. He later apologized to his fellow HouseGuests who were uncomfortable with his actions in the house. Once Scott went to the Diary Room he was removed from the house and expelled.

In Big Brother 6 HouseGuest Eric and Michael get into a confrontation about Michael talking badly about Eric's family. Earlier in the evening, Rachel who was eavesdropping on Janelle and Michael in the Gold Room overheard Michael make a poor joke about Eric's grandparents to Janelle. Rachel told Eric that she heard them badmouthing his family. Later that night Eric and Ivette are outside discussing the incident when Michael goes outside. Eric provokes Michael who retorts, calling Eric "a midget with a small penis." Eric loses all control going after Michael. The other HouseGuests blocked Eric's attack at Michael. Big Brother intervenes telling Eric to leave the backyard and telling Michael to go to the storage room. Shortly after, Ivette attacks Kaysar and his beliefs, Big Brother intervenes again giving warnings to all HouseGuests. Eric apologizes to his fellow HouseGuests, saying he would never hurt anyone.

In Big Brother 8 HouseGuest Richard "Evel Dick" came under some controversy for his loud abusive behaviour towards women HouseGuests especially Jen. This culminated in an event in which Dick poured iced tea on Jen's head while she was engaged in an argument with HouseGuests Nick and Dick's daughter Daniele. This led some fans and the National Organization for Women to call for his expulsion from the house. He went on to be the winner of Big Brother 8.

Another HouseGuest, Amber, who has admitted to a previous addiction to meth, garnered national attention after making what were considered anti-Semitic statements. Hollywood news conglomeration Defamer criticized Amber's sentiments. Notably, aggregate TMZ reported about Amber's remarks, especially those about being able to recognize a Jew by the size of their nose or their last name.

Western Balkans: Serbia

During the second season on the evening of December 28th, three Evicted Housemates, Stevan Zečević, Zorica Lazić, and Elmir Kuduzović died in a car accident near city of Obrenovac, when the car they were in crushed down into river Vukodraz. The producers of the show made the decision to end the show abruptly with seven remaining Housemates in the house. The housmates were informed of their death. There was no winner, with the choice being made to split the money between all the Housemates.

Near-copies of Big Brother

There are a number of different formats around the globe that use rules similar to Big Brother:

The Farm, created by the Swedish producer house Strix. This is the fourth biggest 'people-living-together' reality show on Earth, only exceeded by Star Academy / Operación Triunfo (France/Spain, 2001, Endemol) broadcast in 52 countries; Survivor (Sweden, 1997, Strix), shown in 65 countries and Big Brother itself.

The Bar, another format from Strix.

Endemol format's in cooperation with Strix.

Protagonistas..., a format from the Spanish producer house GloboMedia, developed by its subsidiary in America, Promofilm. It's a mixture among Big Brother and Star Academy and has had a huge success in different Latin countries, as Chile, Brazil (formerly known as Casa dos Artistas), Venezuela, Colombia or Mexico. It also had its own version in Spain and in the U.S., for the Spanish-speaking market, airing on Telemundo.

There are also some local formats that in one or other way are similar to Endemol's Big Brother:

Online Versions

Shortly following the initial debut of Big Brother and other major reality shows such as Survivor and The Amazing Race, a multitude of Online Reality Games based on Big Brother surfaced on the web in which fans of the show competed against each other. One person would "host" the game, coming up with challenges, twists, etc., and the players cast for the show would communicate via AIM or some other messaging service and would compete in Veto and Head of Household challenges to earn power, much like on the real show. Player(s) would also be evicted each week just like on the show, until there was just a final 2 players remaining. Then a jury of those players voted off immediately before the Final 2 would vote on the winner of the game to whom the title of Big Brother champion would be awarded. These games were extremely popular in the early days of Big Brother, and though their popularity slowly declined over the years, they are still widely played today along with Online Reality Games based off of other reality shows.

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