As the current season of Big Brother winds down -- or fizzles, however you want to look at it -- CBS has decided to move forward with another season of the reality TV series, which celebrated its 500th episode just last week. That'll bring the summer series to Season 16. CBS also confirmed that the Season 15 finale will take place next Wednesday, and will run for 90 minutes, airing after the season premiere of Survivor. Also included in the announcement is word that Big Brother: After Dark has been renewed at TVGN. The daily late-night live feeds program previously aired on Showtime, but moved to TV Guide Network for Season 15.
While I doubt many would try to argue that the currently airing season of Big Brother is one of the series' bests, CBS notes that viewership is up 11% from last year. The elimination-style reality TV competition has contestants of varying ages and backgrounds quarantined in a house together, trying to avoid eviction each week in the hopes of being one of the last houseguests remaining. The prize for the winner is $500,000. One of the things that sets the show apart are the live feeds. Viewers willing to dedicate the time to watching can pay to subscribe to the live feeds, which show what's going on in the house between episodes. It's a mostly unedited view of what's really happening in the house, much of which doesn't make it into the three episodes that air each week.
The uptick in viewers from last year to this year could have been due to some of the controversy sparked from comments made by certain players inside the house, which were broadcast on the live feeds, and in some cases the episodes. That aside, this really hasn't been the best season, and watching the live feeds today, from my perspective, it's only about to get worse (read the spoilers here). With that said, after a run of solid seasons for the series, one bad one isn't going to keep me from wanting the show to return next summer, so this renewal is great news.
Of course, we're left to wonder what next year's twist will be. Will CBS seek to do another All Stars season? Season 7 was the only official All Stars season for this series, though a number of players have returned in past seasons since then, including Big Brother 10 winner Dan Gheesling, who competed last season (BB14) alongside former players Britney Haynes (BB12), Janelle Pierzina (BB6 and All Stars), and Mike "Boogie" Malin (BB2 and All Stars), all of whom came into the house as coaches but entered the game as players later. Before that, we saw Jeff, Jordan, Rachel, Brendon, Daniele and Dick all return for another season. And body-builder Jesse came back for Season 11. With that in mind, another All Stars seems almost unnecessary. But on the other hand, it's always great to see the best players in the game brought back to face off against each other.
But we could also argue that, after this season, Big Brother might be better off going back to the drawing board with an entirely new set of houseguests. No siblings or friends or anyone who secretly knows anyone involved with the show. No returning houseguests. Also, no aspiring models/actors who go on the show to try to launch their career in Hollywood. And if at all possible, no recruits. Kaitlin admitted this season that she was approached by a casting person and sent straight to the final audition rounds to get on the show. If I recall correctly, she said she hadn't even seen the series before she was recruited. Are there not enough interesting, charismatic, motivated and -- let's be real, here -- good-looking Big Brother fans auditioning out there that casting has to seek out contestants. I guess there's an argument to be made for throwing in some wildcards who are clueless as to how the game really works, but I'm more interested in watching houseguests come on the show to play the game than I am in watching people who are there just to be on TV.
We probably won't know what Big Brother has planned for its sixteenth season until much closer to the series' return next year. CBS usually keeps the show's details close to the vest until the houseguests are quarantined. In the meantime, there are still four contestants in contention for this year's prize. Tune in tonight to see the Top 3 revealed.