In the kind of #ThrowbackThursday you can’t script, the first eviction of “Big Brother 20” will take place on Thursday, July 5, which is 18 years to the day of the show’s series premiere. That’s right, American “Big Brother” is a whole adult who can vote old (which it should do in November).
Way back at the turn of the millennium and just five weeks after launching summer sensation “Survivor,” CBS debuted “Big Brother,” the U.S. version of the Dutch reality hit. And “Big Brother” has definitely gotten, as the kids say, a glow-up since then.
Season 1 is completely different from the “Big Brother” we know and love now. The debut season hewed closely to the Dutch original. Evictions were known as “banishments” and all banishments were voted on by America, who also voted for the winner. Banishments only occurred every other week. There was no Head of Household — every contestant just chose two people they wanted to nominate and the ones with the most votes would go on the block. The houseguests couldn’t even discuss nominations, so there was never any strategy talk, which made for a super boring show since it aired six (!) times a week.
And Julie Chen wasn’t the only host — she co-hosted with Ian O’Malley, now a radio DJ, who’s basically the Brian Dunkleman to her Ryan Seacrest. He was dumped after six weeks and then bought out the rest of this 13-week contract. “I look back at my six weeks on the lot at CBS and ‘BB’ with a mixture of relief that I got out relatively unscathed,” O’Malley told Reality Blurred in 2007.
Season 1 was, to put it charitably, not great. But CBS gave it another chance and made some drastic changes, taking a page from “Survivor” and incorporating competitions. The Head of Household was created, the house voted on who to evict, the jury was created to determine the winner, and everyone could strategize. (The Power of Veto, of course, wasn’t added until Season 3.) The show also lucked out that season in casting one of the greatest to ever play the game, Dr. Will. Can you even name who won Season 1? It was Eddie. (No offense, Eddie.) Season 2 was a hit and the rest is “Big Brother” history.
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