Big Brother 15 Winner Andy Herren Says The Show Is ‘Cheap,’ And He Has A Hilarious Receipt

Andy Herren on Big Brother
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Big Brother is one of the most emotionally grueling reality shows on television, and that’s in part due to what contestants endure vs. what they're paid. Even though the show updated its prize money to $750,000 from $500,000, it’s still well below the mark of what Survivor winners get and what America’s Got Talent offers as prize money, and Big Brother is a much larger commitment. Houseguests often spend at least 80 days in the house if they have a shot at winning, and according to Season 15 winner Andy Herren, the show can be “cheap” and charge the players while the game is going on. He has a hilarious receipt as proof, which shows living in the house is even less glamorous than fans might think. 

On Twitter, Andy Herren revealed a conversation with a friend who brought up that they heard CBS can be a bit tight-fisted when it comes to money. Herren confirmed that was true in his experience and noted that the runner-up Houseguest during his season, GinaMarie Zimmerman, had to pay the show back for the treatment she received following an injury during a competition (and it’s worth noting that GinaMarie lost her job after the show). He even provided a picture from GinaMarie’s check, which seemingly verifies this story is legit: 

It’s wild to think that GinaMarie would’ve had to pay for her own treatment during a competition that Big Brother held. Obviously, people outside of the show don’t know the details of what occurs behind the scenes, but it would’ve been nice if the network footed the bill. Sure, Season 15 is unquestionably one of the most controversial seasons in the show’s history to the point that it needed a "viewer discretion advised" title card ahead of episodes, but surely enough people watched to cover the cost of stitches for one of the stars. 

Andy Herren, who might have an ax to grind after Big Brother overlooked casting him in its latest all-star Season 22, noted that wasn’t the only time one could call the show “cheap.” Herren recalled that when didn't bring his own contact solution into the house, the show actually went above and beyond to ensure that he covered the cost of it. He tweeted:

Wait omg this is reminding me of a memory I had suppressed! Before the season, I thought they supplied us with contact solution (they don’t) so I didn’t bring any and they made me give them my credit card while in sequester and they went and bought it for me. So wild!!!

On one hand, I can understand that Big Brother can’t be expected to provide essentials for every Houseguest that plays the game. On the other hand, to take a participant's credit card to a store to purchase some contact solution that wouldn’t have cost an incredible amount of money is pretty bold. 

It should be noted that Big Brother Season 15 happened in 2013, so things might’ve changed in the nine years since then. Still, it’s not like the CBS reality series was just getting on its feet when all of this occurred, so perhaps this is just standard practice and something Houseguests should expect when they play. 

Who knows? Maybe this is finally the justification fans need for campaigning for Big Brother to hit the million-dollar mark on prize money, especially if the network is pulling out costs elsewhere. If this is still happening, I can imagine the odds of a Legends season happening might be much lower. 

Anyone interested in streaming Big Brother Season 15 can do so with a Paramount+ subscription. It’s definitely one of the harder seasons to watch in terms of controversial content, but fresh off of the unbelievable ending to Season 24, perhaps it’s a great reminder of just how far the show has come. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.