Big Brother is a television show which is based on a Dutch concept with the same name, developed in 1997 by John de Mol. The name of the series is taken from the George Orwell novel 1984. The show premiered on CBS on July 5, 2000. It is currently the second longest running incarnation of the series in the Big Brother franchise. The Spanish version of the concept is in the top slot.

Big Brother has spawned two spin-off series thus far: Celebrity Big Brother, which premiered in February 2018 on CBS, and Big Brother: Over the Top, which premiered on CBS All Access, CBS’s streaming service, in fall 2016. 

The show has run for 21 series and was renewed for a 22nd season. This instalment was scheduled to air in 2020. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, production on the season had been indefinitely postponed at the time of writing.


The show follows the actions of a wide variety of show contestants, all of whom are called House Guests. The contestants live together in a home which is custom built for the show. Each of the show’s contestants is placed under constant surveillance. The House Guests become entirely isolated from the world outside and are not permitted to have any communication with anyone who is not within the house. 

The House Guest contestants compete for a grand prize of $500,000 and participate in weekly competitions. The competitions each week determine which contestants on the show will be evicted and forced to leave the show. The last remaining contestant wins the grand prize. 

Cast and characters

Here are some of the major cast members who have appeared on the show over the years:

  • Host – Julie Chen Moonves
  • Announcer – Phil Proctor
  • Contestant – George Boswell
  • Announcer – Clayton Halsey
  • Contestant – Paul Abrahamian
  • Contestant – Nicole Franzel
  • Contestant – James Huling
  • Contestant – Janelle Pierzina
  • Contestant – Eddie McGee
  • Host – Ian O’Malley
  • Contestant – Josh Souza
  • Contestant – Curtis Kin
  • Contestant – Jamie Kern
  • Contestant – Cassandra Waldon
  • Contestant – Karen Fowler
  • Contestant – Jean Jordan
  • Contestant – William Collins
  • Announcer – Dave Walsh
  • Contestant – Mike Malin
  • Contestant – Brittany Petros
  • Contestant – Will Kirby
  • Contestant – Erika Landin
  • Contestant – Danielle Reyes
  • Contestant – Jordan Lloyd
  • Contestant – Dan Gheesling
  • Contestant – Jeff Schroeder
  • Contestant – Daniele Donato
  • Contestant – Britney Haynes
  • Contestant – Marcellas Reynolds
  • Contestant – Rachel Reilly
  • Contestant – Howie Gordon
  • Contestant – James Rhine
  • Contestant – Jessie Godderz
  • Contestant – Brendon Villegas
  • Contestant – Diane Henry
  • Contestant – Frank Eudy
  • Contestant – Derrick Levasseur
  • Contestant – Frankie Grande
  • Contestant – Cody Calafiore
  • Contestant – Dick Donato
  • Contestant – Caleb Reynolds
  • Contestant – Kaycee Clark
  • Contestant – Tyler Crispen
  • Contestant – Austin Matelson
  • Contestant – Corey Brooks
  • Contestant – J.C. Mounduix
  • Contestant – Jennifer Dedmon
  • Contestant – Alison Irwin
  • Contestant – Victoria Rafaeli
  • Contestant – Steve Moses
  • Contestant – Liz Nolan
  • Contestant – Vanessa Rousso
  • Contestant – Josh Martinez
  • Contestant – Holly Allen
  • Contestant – Nicole Anthony
  • Contestant – Jackson Michie

Filming locations

The “house” in which Big Brother is filmed is actually a set custom built for the show which is located on a CBS soundstage in Los Angeles, California. 


Big Brother as a show was purchased by CBS in early 2000 for an estimated price of $20 million. The American version of the show officially had its premiere episode air on July 5, 2000. At the time, ten House Guests entered the set. Since the inception of the show, Julie Chen Moonves – an American television personality – has been the host.

The show is produced by Rich Meehan and Allison Grodner for Endemol Shine North America (formerly Endemol USA) and Fly on the Wall Entertainment. The success of the show has given rise to several spin-off series. 

The series is broadcast once per year, during the summer months. There have been some exceptions, such as the ninth season, which was broadcast in spring 2008. Furthermore, the Over the Top spinoff series aired in the fall of 2016. 

At the time of writing, 21 seasons of the show have been released. Season 22, which was slated to air in the summer of 2020, has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Episodes and reception

The show has had 21 seasons so far. The first season had 70 episodes. Season 2, 6, 11, 12, and 14 have had 30 episodes each. Seasons 3, 4, 8, and 9 have each had 33 episodes. Season 5 had 31 episodes. Season 7 had 28 episodes. Seasons 10 and 13 had 29 episodes each. Season 15 had 36 episodes. Seasons 16 and 17, plus seasons 20 and 21, each had 40 episodes. Season 18 had 42 episodes, while Season 19 had 39 episodes. 

Each of the episodes features competitions between the House Guests which determine who will be allowed to remain in the house. The competitions include Head of Household, Power of Veto, food and luxury competitions, and Battle of the Block. These segments are usually well received by the viewers. 80% of Google users are listed as liking this show at the time of writing.

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