“Big Brother is as mischievous as ever!”

Exec Producer Amelia Fisk explains the changes in Seven's big roll of the dice.

Big Brother is as mischievous as ever! Episode One hits off with a secret mission,” Big Brother Executive Producer Amelia Fisk tells TV Tonight.

“I feel like we’ve taken the best parts and put it into a jam-packed, entertaining 90 minutes of television.

“Every episode there are outcomes and pace. It’s got everything that we love about Big Brother which is hilarious house tasks and soap opera that comes from living within a bunch of strangers. But then there’s a new injection of game where they have to vote themselves out.”

Big Brother 2020 has shaken up a 20 year format under Fisk, whose work on Australian Survivor has been a hit with fans and Network 10.

Now Seven is hoping a rebooted version of the Dutch-created show will spruce up its schedule. Fisk, who worked on two seasons of the UK and one of the Australian series, has looked to more recent versions for inspiration.

This sees fundamental changes including a highly-produced series, no Live eviction shows with audience voting (the grand final will return both), and housemates who vote to evict their own. Like Survivor, each episode entails a challenge and nominations ceremony -including the first.

“There are definitely elements of Survivor

“There are definitely elements of Survivor in that they have to vote each other out and big challenges, but it’s definitely been inspired by the Canadian / US format of Big Brother,” she continues.

“What you don’t get from the Live element is made up by the fact that there are now these game elements and the entertainment generated by housemates voting each other out.”

While the original Australian series entailed half hour Daily shows, producers now benefit from editing episode one with the knowledge of who their final 3 housemates are. Gone is the 24 hour edit.

“An edited version gives us time to tell the stories in the most exciting way. There is no pressure of turning around an episode in 24 hours, which was What used to happen in Big Brother.

“It’s not salacious, it’s got great heart, humour and game”

There is also no Up Late edition, no Live streaming cameras, no Friday Night Games -but there will be a 7plus digital Eye Spy companion show discussing the action. With no house spa (there is a pool) Seven will also avoid the rudest bits for which the show became notorious on 10.

“It’s family-friendly viewing. It’s not salacious, it’s got great heart, humour and game. There’s something for everyone. So we’re really aiming towards the 25 to 55 year old audience…. something that everyone can sit down and watch.

“Obviously there is what (Language) we can get through with our rating, but it’s bleeped where needed.”

In rebooting the series Seven has also taken the opportunity to embrace a more diverse Australia. Housemates include Kenyan, Fijian, Korean and Chinese heritage, plus gay and older housemates, aged 19 – 62.

“We were just inundated with over 50,000 people applying. The early Big Brothers captured a real cross section of Australia. Everyone was represented, I guess,” Fisk recalls.

“It’s not just a bunch of 20-somethings living in a house.”

“But we wanted to get older housemates. I think our ages are 19 to 62 years old. So it’s not just a bunch of 20-somethings living in a house. There is someone for everyone and they’re all in there because they’ve got motivation. They’re all in there for a reason. It’s not just about wanting to be on TV.

“Angela is TV gold. She is just entertaining. She’s happy to play the game but she does it in an entertaining way and it’s completely real. Kieran is your loveable guy who kind of bumbles his way through. And Sarah is an amazing pocket-rocket, only 4 foot 11, with a tough upbringing. She’s someone to be celebrated, I guess, in Australia.”

“The aim is to get $250,000…. but there might be a curve ball at the end of the series”

12 enter the series tonight with another 4 on Tuesday and the final 4 on Wednesday.

“They are late housemates. I can confirm there won’t be intruders,” she reveals.

“The aim is to get $250,000. That’s the prize money. I’m not going to reveal anything more, but there might be a curve ball at the end of the series.”

Sonia Kruger returns as host, and will conduct a daily nominations ritual from monitors. While housemates are watched from 65 cameras, filming was interrupted when a crew member had come into contact with somebody tested positive. Housemates were also told about Covid-19.

“We had to quickly get that crew member off to get tested. Until we found out the result we had to suspend production.

“Whilst the rigged cameras continued to record, there were limited crew members running the house. The majority of crew was off-site until we found out about 48 hours later and got back up and running, when the result came back negative,” Fisk confirms.

“We will be leaning in to that moment, when it happened. That’s what Big Brother is.”

“We will be leaning in to that moment, when it happened. That’s what Big Brother is. The housemates started noticing all the cameras leaving the camera runs and the rigged cameras stopped following. So they knew something was up before we told them.

“But when you are hermetically sealed off from any kind of germs it was the safest place in the world!”

Much is riding on the success of the multi-million dollar series. While die-hard fans have questioned the non-live element, Fisk is hoping the social and gameplay that has fired up Survivor will strike twice.

“The benefit of having a super-brand like Big Brother is that people will come from other networks to have a look at Episode One. So we’re hoping that they’ll come and watch and want to stay.”

Big Brother begins 7:30pm tonight on Seven.

Update: Embargoed review will run at 7:30pm AEST tonight (please take note for other timezones).

31 Responses

  1. It was really cringe worthy, I really enjoyed the other versions of the show, Sonia is a wasted talent in this show. They could have blooded someone new. The whole show is incredibly bland.

  2. So I didn’t hate it. It was entertaining…

    But Sonia just standing there randomly with no introduction was odd, her greeting some housemates and not others was odd. Some housemates just appeared out of thin air.

    There was no house tour. It felt rushed. The eviction tonight felt out of place. We know barely nothing about these people.

    I can see this new format working. But a weekly eviction over a daily eviction will be better. If it’s a ratings winner I am sure seven will invest more money.

    And finally I didn’t hate Sonia hosting, she was good but I feel like she just exists randomly and almost isn’t required.

    1. I agree that it seemed very rushed and badly edited! Was surprised when at eviction they suddenly said it was day 3!!! Haven’t even heard some contestants speak.
      Not showing each vote and the person’s reason was a bad move. How does audience know what alliances exist or who likes who? Why not do it Survivor style and show the votes after eviction? Show is better than expected but needs to be more engaging with audience. If audience doent know why contestants voted a certain way they will lose interest quickly!

    2. They have leant very heavily on Survivor. Everything mentioned happens on Survivor. Host appearing occasionally, some cast getting more airtime than others, eviction every episode, have to earn food. And, like Survivor, if you see a cast member getting more airtime (including their back story), it probably means they are on the chopping block.

  3. “producers now benefit from editing episode one with the knowledge of who their final 3 housemates are”… so we will know who they are by the huge amount of screen time they get?

    1. My issue with it being pre recorded is: although they cannot control who wins challenges Each day and therefore who gets nominated and therefore who gets evicted night, by night, by having control of the edit they can push certain housemates, to us the audience to give them better or worse edits (Giving us our series heroes & villains) so that when it gets to the final three they’ve pushed us, the audience, in a direction the network might like to see, thus helping someone win that the network want to see win. So unfortunately I think we really Won’t get to see people for who that are, just how the network / producers Want us to see them.
      I wonder how long before one of the early evicted housemates cries “I was taken out of context in the edit”.

      1. “I wonder how long before one of the early evicted housemates cries “I was taken out of context in the edit”.”

        I recall that happening in past seasons of Big Brother.

  4. And here I was thinking that Channel Nine’s run was horribly edited to the extent that certain scenes/sequences were incoherent and the dialogue rendered unintelligible by how much they had sliced and diced the footage in order to keep it “family friendly” (even though most episodes were aired at 8.30pm or later with an unnecessarily prudent PG classification). I intermittently caught Nine’s first season, but didn’t stick around for the next two.

    While the cast looks mostly promising, Seven have done away with everything that made the concept appealing in the first place, and without the 24 hour turnaround of the original run, I expect this to be contrived as hell. Pass.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a TV show promoted so much for so long before it went to air (outside of 7’s MKR onslaught every year)… imagine if it came 3rd in the ratings tonight.

  6. Who wants Friday Night Live every night? The whole reason it worked was because it was in mediation and balanced out the drama of the week.

    Gretel hadn’t run her course, they just tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. She is BB, the same way Daryl was Hey Hey and Tom is Hard Quiz. Fair enough if she passed on coming back, but they had to do much better than Sonia.

  7. Yeah I’m not sure about this being pre-recorded and not having live evictions I think it may not have the same feeling of Big brother that we’re used too, but who knows the change may be different and work… Could Ch7 make it good? I will give it a go.. wow I haven’t properly tuned into Ch7 for a long time. (I do only though watch H&A on catch up tv)

  8. I must admit the diversity and complete format overhaul are massive steps in the right direction but it’s still a brand I have absolutely loathed in the past so I’ll wish it well but will avoid.

  9. David, Is it tonight or tomorrow night’s eviction when the EVS failed to record any cameras and they had to get the housemate back and act the whole process? That’s the only bit I don’t want to miss!

  10. As much as i loved the OG big brother, i think this format is probably the best chance of ratings now. Willing to give it a shot regardless of all the rumours that its not good and was rushed towards the end due to covid. I really hope its not terrible!!

    1. 100% agree – mostly hated pre-packaged nightly show, loved humour & presenters of Up Late. Public voting won’t be missed, probably down to 100 votes by that last series. Survivor “Ugh” – hate the vindictive treatment of contestants. Also really hate “Surprises” and “Twists” – just another lie to audience & talent. Even their first promo video showed one of the islands in harbour as a hint – just North Shore ex artillery barracks/school site, not even possible to fly over in the direction shown (horizontally flipped??). Do wish them luck, though, viewers love Survivor format & Sonia could do with a break.

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