There is a phrase that has come to be commonplace when talking about Big Brother in years past: “Everything Old is New Again.” This phrase typifies the somewhat recycled nature of recent seasons where Houseguests of previous seasons were brought back to compete once more in the game. Be it as mentors, All-Stars or couples, these retread players became symbolic of the chief complaint amongst Big Brother fans – that the show relied too much on popular personalities and reality “stars” to maintain an audience. Why invest in the process of finding new players when, for the measly cost of tens of thousands of dollars more you can invite someone back that is a fan favorite?
This year, however, the retreads are gone- Big Brother is riding on new tires in 2013.
Those new tires come in the form of 16 new contestants, people who have not been seen (with the brief exception of one) on Big Brother before now. Additionally, changes to the game format appear to bring in a larger role to the fans of the show. America has a voice each week in the nomination and eviction process, and the extent of America’s influence in the weekly game has not been seen at this level since possibly the inaugural season.
The House retains the basic format, but with a retro-1960s styling and look that is meant to appeal to viewers of fine quality basic-cable dramas on other company-owned networks. In truth, the House does have a nice look and Julie’s walkthrough can be found online.
Gamewise, we know few details beyond what has been revealed. There is a weekly “MVP” role that is voted on by America, which appears to have a direct reward and a possible role in the nominations each week. There is now a nomination couch, and per CBS there are three Houseguests up for nomination by the HoH each week. Other standard rules still apply – there is still a Head of Household, a nomination and veto comp, and a weekly eviction. The season has been extended by at least two weeks, starting in June rather than shortly after July 4th. Additionally, there is potential for the season to extend past the normal ending week of mid-September.
The biggest controversy leading into the season this year was the ouster of longtime partner RealNetworks from the Internet feed presentation. In years past, the annual tradition of signing up for SuperPass (and the subsequent cancelling of SuperPass three months later) became a bit of a joke as feed watchers were forced to endure the sales pitch of keeping SuperPass beyond our needs. Now, however, CBS has taken over the online presentation in its entirety. Previous fears regarding the show’s availability and presentation to online fans have been mostly smoothed over save for the biggest hit – Canada has been locked out legally from the CBS feeds. While some report success through VPNs and other forms of access, none of these methods are publicly recommended. Other concerns will only appear to be either cleared up or exacerbated once the show premieres online.
Mostly in fandom, there seems to be an excitement not seen in a while. The sparkle of an all-new cast has yet to fade, and the larger role of the fandom has many intrigued. With the premiere on June 25th rapidly approaching, summer has officially begun for Big Brother fans.