New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
Big names back
on 'Big Brother'
By RICHARD HUFF
DAILY NEWS TV EDITOR
Monday, June 19th, 2006
Some New York-area residents will be among the 20 candidates vying for entry into CBS' All-Star edition of "Big Brother" this season.
The reality show gets underway Wednesday at 8 p.m. with a casting special in which America gets its first glimpse at the 20 contestants trying for a slot on the All-Star version.
Viewers will then be able to vote on which of the 20 actually get to be among the 12 in the house. "These are the people you love, the people you hate, they are the best gamers, they are the most controversial," said executive producer Allison Grodner. "It's a nice mix."
For five years, "Big Brother" has been a summer programming staple for CBS, spitting out 75 players overall. This season's players come from that pool. The show revolves around a group of people being sequestered in a specially designed home in California, where their every move and sound will be recorded. Once a week, one goes home.
Besides thrice-weekly television shows emanating from the house, the whole thing unfolds live, around the clock, on the Internet.
Grodner wouldn't disclose which of the past candidates made the cut for the new edition, but she did say some of the 20 All-Stars are from the New York area.
Producers started with a list of 40 names, Grodner said.
Some declined because they didn't want to go through the experience again. "It's a tough show," Grodner said, "because of the length of time they have to endure being in one place with no contact with the outside world. They don't see a cameraman, they don't see a producer, they don't see anyone but the people they go in with."
She did say that producers were not interested in putting back into the house people who broke the rules the first time around or may have been ejected.
That would seemingly rule out William Collins, a first-season contestant, who was revealed by the Daily News to have been an associate of controversial racist firebrand Khalid Abdul Muhammad, and perhaps Justin Sebik, who caused a stir when he held a knife to the neck of a female player during an early-morning tryst.
To that end, Grodner said each of the players had to go through new background checks as if they were new contestants. "We want to make sure our houseguests are completely safe," she said.
In a new twist, after Wednesday's special, viewers can vote for their favorite players. The top three male and top three female vote-getters will be guaranteed entry into the "Big Brother" house, with the producers selecting the remaining six.
Then, at a date not revealed, the 20 will line up outside the house and be told who gets in. That taped show will air July 6 at 8 p.m. to start the "living" part of the series.
Grodner promises alterations in the house - and how the game is played. "There are changes in terms of the challenges, in terms of how hard it is to live in this house," she said. "This is not your mama's 'Big Brother.' It's going to have more edge than it has in the past." http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/ent_radio/v-pfriendly/story/427779p-360744c.html