After 18 seasons plus an online-only edition, “Big Brother” returns to CBS on June 28 for a brand new summer of twists, evictions, tears and savvy game play. As we eagerly anticipate the new crop of Season 19 players (make your predictions now), let’s look back at the six male houseguests who played the best games of all time. Of our six faves listed below, only five went on to win their season, proving that in our eyes you don’t have to claim victory in order to be the “best.” In our photo gallery above we detail the Top 12 players ever (men and women), but below are our thoughts just on the guys.
Dan Gheesling (Season 10 winner, Season 14 runner-up) — Brilliant game play brought Dan to the finals twice, both times as the biggest target in the house. In Season 10 he managed to avoid eviction due to strong relationships with the right housemates and sophisticated strategy. He ultimately won that season and returned in Season 14 with an even bigger bullseye on his back. When it was all but a foregone conclusion Dan would be evicted he staged one of the most memorable moments in “Big Brother” history: “Dan’s Funeral.” The master manipulator managed to get himself saved from the block and rode the momentum to the finals again. Unfortunately, the jury was much more bitter the second time around and named Ian Terry the winner.
Will Kirby (Season 2 winner, Season 7 4th place) — Modern reality competitions were partly molded from the genius game play of “Dr. Will” Kirby. If there was ever an induction to the “Big Brother Hall of Fame,” his name would no doubt be first on the list. The Season 2 champ created the blueprint of how to play modern game using manipulation and charm. He was also the first “Big Brother” champ who had to rely on his evicted jury members to vote for him to win after he had thrown them all under the bus.
Derrick Levasseur (Season 16 winner) — Nobody made winning “Big Brother” look easier than this undercover police officer who audiences pegged as the future champ just halfway through the season. Forming an alliance with egotistical meatheads, Derrick fueled their self-absorption by constantly complimenting their games while downplaying his own. Nobody inside of the house ever saw Derrick as a threat, but the jury on the outside came to realize he orchestrated the entire game.
‘Evel’ Dick Donato (Season 8 winner, Season 13 left for health reasons) — “Evel” Dick Donato became one of the most polarizing figures in “Big Brother” history on his way to winning Season 8. As one of the most notorious villains in the history of the series, Dick belittled and intimidated his housemates while using the trust of his estranged daughter, Daniele, to help secure his place in the house. Even after all the terrible things he said to the jury, they declared him the winner. Whether you love him or hate him, Evel Dick made for great TV.
Frankie Grande (Season 16, 5th place) — Audiences grew to love and then hate Frankie as his season progressed, but there’s no question he kept things entertaining. While Derrick Levasseur was dominating the season, Frankie was the only other houseguest with a strategy and critical thinking skills to fight back. Who could forget the time Frankie single-handedly pulled himself and Caleb both off the block WHILE Caleb tried to throw the competition? It is ruthless players like Frankie that make the game interesting, even if you cringe sometimes watching.
Mike ‘Boogie’ Malin (Season 2 8th place, Season 7 winner, Season 14 10th place) — It is difficult to play three seasons and not have a target on your back, so I can forgive his going home in 10th place during Season 14. What’s more impressive was winning the All-Stars season in grand fashion, even if his alliance member, Will Kirby, did a lot of the heavy lifting. There’s no question “Boogie Mike” knows how to stir up drama and played the game well.
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