- This is the 21st season for CBS’s reality show.
- ‘Big Brother’ is a spin-off of a Dutch TV series of the same name.
- The premiere of ‘Big Brother’ Season 21 airs June 25 at 8:00 PM Eastern.
We provide extensive coverage of reality TV here at SPORTS INSIDER and all of these shows share a similar refrain in terms of their popularity. Their viewership is down significantly from the ‘glory days’ but they’re still a fixture on the schedules of the analog era legacy broadcast networks for the simple fact that they can aggregate a decent sized audience on a weekly basis. Such is the case with the CBS TV summer staple Big Brother which will begin it’s 21st season on June 25. Big Brother remains one of the strongest audience aggregators among reality TV programming and it dependably brings in 5+ million viewers three times a week. In the broadcast landscape circa 2019 that’s huge.
The format of Big Brother is typical of the genre. A group of contestants live together in a house isolated from the outside world. Contestants get kicked out for violating a list of rules and they can leave at any time of their own volition but the general idea is that they keep getting voted off the island…er…out of the house…until there is one ‘sole survivor’….er….’big winner’. The winner of Big Brother takes down a bankroll worth a cool $500 grand. There’s also an audience voting component and a few hidden idol-esque power ups to keep it interesting. The Season 21 ‘house theme’ is ‘Summer Camp’. That won’t be irritating at all…..
SAME TYPECAST HOUSEGUESTS, DIFFERENT SEASON
My job is to set numbers on reality TV not to become a fan. Even so, when you watch these shows week after week it’s natural to develop some interest in the characters and storylines. It takes me a long time to warm up to the new Big Brother cast every season and I think that the CBS ‘houseguest casting by the numbers’ template is a big reason for this. I understand that Big Brother is hugely popular so there’s definitely a ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ ethos in play. I also understand that critiquing a reality show for seeming ‘contrived’ is ridiculous since–spoiler alert: they’re all contrived. That being said, most reality shows try to maintain a veneer of spontaneity and individuality among their contestants. Survivor, for example, usually presents an interesting twist or two. They also have greater diversity among their cast. I’m not using that in racial/cultural context (though they do have a wider range of ethnic backgrounds represented)–I mean that the cast at least comes off as more interesting than a lot of reality shows. They also come off as real people and not ‘types’.
Big Brother doesn’t go in much for ‘diversity’ or for that matter much nuance in general. They presumably put out an annual casting call for tatted up dudes (plus one cowboy guy or other guy with a similar ‘unique gimmick’) and chicks that look good in swimsuits (since they apparently wear them 24/7) and call it a day. I get that these shows aren’t cast for me (in which case they’d have a house full of Austrian economists, cosplay girls and Japanese professional wrestlers) but some variety would be welcome. The cast might not be the ‘lowest common denominator’ but it’s definitely engineered to appeal to the last remaining broadcast TV demographic. This year’s twist is that the ‘cowboy guy’ is an older chubby dude who kind of reminds me of a younger version of legendary pro wrestling announcer Jim Ross. If you’re interested in a rundown of the full cast with a ‘capsule commentary’ you can find one at this link:
BIG BROTHER 21 CAST INTRO (CELEBDIRTYLAUNDRY.COM)
It’s tough to do much oddsmaking until the first episode airs. Here’s my ‘opening numbers’ to win Big Brother Season 21. We’ll add additional weekly props as the series progresses:
‘BIG BROTHER’ SEASON 21 BETTING ODDS
TO WIN ‘BIG BROTHER’ SEASON 21
David Alexander +500
Tommy Bracco +500
Isabella Wang +500
Jack Matthews +750
Nicole Anthony +750
Holly Allen +750
Ovi Kabir +1000
Analyse Talavera +1000
Sam Smith +1500
Jackson Michie +1500
Cliff Hogg III +2500
Nick Maccarone +2500
Kimi Fakunle +3500
Jessica Milagros +3500
Kathryn Dunn +3500
Christie Murphy +3500