According to Shapiro, the producers had a pool of approximately 6,000 contestants to draw from this year. That's double the amount of the people who sent in requests to be on "Big Brother 2". From that pool, the 50 finalists went through a battery of psychological, medical and I.Q. testing in L.A. Of the 50, only 12 made it onto the show.
"We have done everything humanly possible to know the backgrounds of these people and because of everything we learned last year, before they go into the house the talks that Allison and I are going to have with each House Guest individually are going to be very through," said Shapiro of the process. "I really think that everybody is going to follow the rules to the letter because nobody wants to get thrown out, nobody wants to be put up for a penalty nomination. Every one of these people wants to win. They are like hungry dogs just waiting to be released from their cages."
Both Shapiro and Grodner are proud of the "Big Brother 3" cast they've selected. Because they've had the advantage of watching two seasons of the show, Shapiro believes the new players will certainly be more prepared, more skilled at playing the game and could possibly be the most ruthless House Guests thus far seen on American television.
"We think this cast is as competitive as can be. They are all very eager. They all have their strategies...but they are highly competitive and they break down into two categories," Shapiro reflected. "The people who say that they're leaving their morals and ethics at the front door. That they will do anything to win within the rules. That no matter what they have to do, who they have to betray, who they have to doublecross, who they have to con, that it is no problem for them. Then there are a few people who believe that they can win the game by being who they really are and not compromising their personalities and ethics. It will be very interesting to see which strategy ultimately prevails."
The "Big Brother" house is outfitted with 38 cameras and 62 microphones that record the lives of the 12 contestants 24 hours a day for three months. The goings-on are broadcast on TV as well as on the Internet. Each week the contestants vote one of their own out until just two are left. The final surviving House Guests are then subjected to a final vote. During that vote, the returning "banished" House Guests pick the winner.
Will Kirby, a 28-year-old physician from Florida -- nicknamed 'Doctor Evil' by fans -- was chosen as the winner of last year's "Big Brother 2" and was awarded the grand prize of $500,000. Nicole, the 31-year-old personal chef from Atlanta, took home second place and $50,000.
Eddie McGee, the New Yorker who lost his left leg to cancer, won a half million dollars as the winner of the first U.S. "Big Brother."