Big Brother (franchise)

This article is about the franchise. For other uses, see Big Brother (disambiguation).
Big Brother

International logo of Big Brother
Also known as Secret Story
Celebrity/VIP Big Brother
Teen Big Brother
Genre Entertainment
Reality television
Created by John de Mol
Developed by John de Mol
Composer(s) Vanacore Music
Country of origin Netherlands
Distributor Endemol
Original network Veronica
Original release 16 September 1999 (1999-09-16) – present
External links
Big Brother on Endemol

Big Brother is a reality game show franchise created by John de Mol, originally broadcast in the Netherlands and subsequently syndicated internationally.[1] As of 11 November 2016, there have been 387 seasons of Big Brother in over 54 franchise countries and regions.

In the show, contestants called "housemates" (or "house guests") live together in a specially-constructed house that is isolated from the outside world. Housemates are voted out (usually on a weekly basis) until only one remains and wins the cash prize. During their stay in the house, contestants are continuously monitored by live television cameras as well as personal audio microphones.

English-language editions of the program are often referred to as "BB".[2] Many Spanish-language editions of the program are called Gran Hermano (GH).


At regular intervals, the housemates privately nominate a number of their fellow housemates whom they wish to be evicted from the house.[3] The housemates with the most nominations are then announced, and viewers are given the opportunity to vote via telephone for the nominee they wish to be evicted. The last person remaining is declared the winner.

Some more recent editions have since included additional methods of voting, such as voting through social media and smartphone applications. Occasionally, non-standard votes occur, where two houseguests are evicted at once or no one is voted out. In the earlier series of Big Brother, there were 10 contestants with evictions every two weeks. However, the UK version introduced a larger number of contestants with weekly evictions. Most versions of Big Brother follow the weekly eviction format, broadcast over approximately 3 months for 16 contestants.

The contestants are required to do housework and are assigned tasks by the producers of the show (who communicate with the housemates via the omnipresent authority figure known to them only as "Big Brother"). The tasks are designed to test their teamwork abilities and community spirit. In some countries, the housemates' shopping budget or weekly allowance (to buy food and other essentials) depends on the outcome of assigned tasks.



The term Big Brother originates from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its theme of continuous oppressive surveillance.[1] The program also relies on other techniques, such as a stripped back-to-basic environment, evictions, weekly tasks and competitions set by Big Brother and the "Diary or Confession Room" where housemates convey their thoughts to camera and reveal their nominees for eviction.


The first version of Big Brother was broadcast in 1999 on Veronica in the Netherlands. In the first season of Big Brother, the house was very basic. Although essential amenities such as running water, furniture and a limited ration of food were provided, luxury items were often forbidden. This added a survivalist element to the show, increasing the potential for social tension. Nearly all later series provide a modern house for the contest with a jacuzzi, sauna, VIP suite, loft and other luxuries.

International expansion

The format has become an international TV franchise. While each country or region has its own variation, the common theme is that the contestants are confined to the house and have their every action recorded by cameras and microphones, and that no contact with the outside world is permitted.

Most international versions of the show remain quite similar to each other: their main format remains true to the original fly on the wall observational style with the emphasis on human relationships, to the extent that contestants are forbidden from discussing nominations or voting strategy. In 2001, the US version adopted a different format during its second season, where the contestants are encouraged to strategize to advance in the game; in this format the contestants themselves vote to evict each other. In 2011, the UK version controversially adapted the discussion of nominations before reverting this rule after a poll by Big Brother broadcaster Channel 5.[4]



From a sociological and demographic perspective, Big Brother allows an analysis of how people react when forced into close confinement with people outside of their comfort zone (having different opinions or ideals, or from a different socioeconomic group). The viewer has the opportunity to see how a person reacts from the outside (through the constant recording of their actions) and the inside (in the Diary or Confession Room). The Diary Room is where contestants can privately express their feelings about the game, strategy and the other contestants. The results range from violent or angry confrontations to genuine and tender connections (often including romantic interludes).

The show is notable for involving the Internet. Although the show typically broadcasts daily updates during the evening (sometimes criticized by viewers and former contestants for heavy editing by producers),[5] viewers can also watch a continuous feed from multiple cameras on the Web in most countries. These websites were successful, even after some national series began charging for access to the video stream. In some countries, Internet broadcasting was supplemented by updates via email, WAP and SMS. The house is shown live on satellite television, although in some countries there is a 10–15 minute delay to allow libelous or unacceptable content (such as references to people not participating in the program who have not consented to have personal information broadcast) to be removed.

Contestants occasionally develop sexual relationships; the level of sexual explicitness allowed to be shown in broadcast and Internet-feed varies according to the country's broadcasting standards.


Big Brother contestants are isolated in the house, without access to television, radio or the Internet. They are not permitted routine communication with the outside world. This was an important issue for most earlier series of the show. In more-recent series, contestants are occasionally allowed to view televised events (usually as a reward for winning at a task). In most versions of the program, books and writing materials are also forbidden, although exceptions are sometimes made for religious materials such as the Bible, Tanakh or the Qur'an. Some versions ban all writing implements, even items that can be used to write (such as lipstick or eyeliner). Despite the housemates' isolation, some contestants are occasionally allowed to leave the house as part of tasks. Contestants are permitted to leave the house in an emergency.

Contestants have regularly-scheduled interactions with the show's host on eviction nights. Throughout each day, the program's producer, in the "Big Brother" voice, issues directives and commands to contestants. Some versions of the show allow private counseling sessions with a psychologist. These are allowed at any time, and are often conducted by telephone from the Diary Room.

Format changes and twists

Regional versions

World map, with different shading for "Big Brother" versions
Locations of Big Brother versions:
  With individual franchises
  Part of Big Brother Africa
  Part of Big Brother Angola e Moçambique; Also part of Big Brother Africa
  With individual franchises; Also part of Big Brother Africa
  Part of Big Brother: الرئيس
  Part of Gran Hermano del Pacífico
  With individual franchises; Also part of Gran Hermano del Pacífico
  Part of Veliki brat
  With individual franchises; Also part of Big Brother of Scandinavia

Due to the intelligibility of certain languages across several nations, it has been possible to make regional versions of Big Brother. All of these follow the normal Big Brother rules, except that contestants must come from each of the countries in the region where it airs: Big Brother Albania of Albania and Kosovo, Big Brother Angola e Moçambique of Angola and Mozambique, Big Brother Africa of Africa (includes Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe), Big Brother: الرئيس of the Middle East (includes Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria and Tunisia), Gran Hermano del Pacífico of South America (includes Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Peru), Big Brother of Scandinavia (includes Norway and Sweden) and Veliki brat of the Balkans (includes Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia). The British version of the show accepts Irish applicants and was available between 2000 and 2010 as Channel 4 was available; as of 2015 the show returned to Irish screens as TV3 bought the rights from UK broadcaster Channel 5 to air the show.

On the other hand, some countries have multiple franchises based on language. India has Hindi, Bengali and Kannada-language versions; Canada has French and English-langauge versions; and the United States has English and Spanish-language versions of the show.

Twists involving single franchises

Multiple areas and houses

In 2001, Big Brother 3 of the Netherlands introduced the "Rich and Poor" concept, wherein the house is separated into a luxurious half and a poor half and two teams of housemates compete for a place in the luxurious half. The Dutch version continued this concept until its fourth season. Other versions later followed and introduced a similar concept, of which some have their own twists: Africa (in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), Albania (in 2010), Australia (in 2003 and 2013), Balkan States (in VIP 2010 and 2011), Brazil (in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014), Canada (2013–present), Denmark (in 2003), Finland (in 2009 and 2014), France (in 2009, 2011–present), Germany (in 2003, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008 and 2008–09), Greece (in 2003), India (in 2012 and 2013), Israel (in 2009), Italy (in 2006 and 2007), Norway (in 2003), Philippines (in 2009, Teen 2010 and 2011), Poland (in 2002), Portugal (in VIP 2013 and 2016), Slovakia (in 2005), Slovenia (in 2008, 2015 and 2016), Scandinavia (in 2005), South Africa (in 2014), Spain (in VIP 2004, 2008, 2009–10 and 2010), United Kingdom (in 2002, Celebrity 2007, 2008, Celebrity 2013 and 2016) and United States (2009–present).

In 201112, the seventh Argentine series added La Casa de al Lado ("The House Next Door"), a smaller, more luxurious house which served multiple functions. The first week it hosted 4 potential housemates, and the public voted for two of them to enter the main house. The second week, two pairs of twins competed in the same fashion, with only one pair allowed in. Later, the 3rd, 4th and 5th evicted contestants were given the choice of staying on their way out and they competed for the public's vote to reenter the house. Months later, after one of the contestants left the house voluntarily, the House Next Door reopened for four contestants who wanted to reenter and had not been in such a playoff before. The House Next Door was also used in other occasions to accommodate contestants from the main house for limited periods of time, especially to have more privacy (which of course could be seen by the public).[6]

The ninth Brazilian season featured the "Bubble": a glass house in a shopping mall in Rio de Janeiro where four potential housemates lived for a week. Later in the season a bubble was built inside the Big Brother house, with another two housemates living in it for a week until they were voted in and the glass house dismantled. The Glass House was reused in the eleventh season, featuring five evicted housemates competing for a chance to join the house again, and in the thirteenth season, with six potential housemates competing for two places in the main house. A dividing wall from the ninth season was reused in the fourteenth Brazilian season, when mothers and aunts of the housemates entered for International Women's Day and stayed in the house for 6 days, though they could not be seen by the housemates.

In the fourth English-Canadian season, two house guests were evicted and moved into a special suite where they were able to watch the remaining house guests. A week later, the house guests were required to unanimously decide which of them to bring back into the house.

Evil Big Brother

In 2004, the fifth UK series introduced an villainous Big Brother with harsher punishments, such as taking away prize money, more difficult tasks and secret tricks. This concept has also been used in Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, South America, Scandinavia, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, the Philippines and Mexico.

Twin or triplet housemates

In 2004, the fifth US season introduced twins who were tasked with secretly switching back and forth in the house; they were allowed to play the game as individual house guests after succeeding at the deception for five weeks. This twist was reused in the seventeenth US season with an easier task of successfully changing places for five weeks without being evicted.

This twin or triplet twist was used in several countries. Some made modifications to this twist; others have had twins in the house together without this element of secrecy. The following are the countries that have featured twins or triplets: Australia (in 2005), Germany (in 200506), Bulgaria (in 2006 and 2012), United Kingdom (in 2007, Celebrity 2011, Celebrity 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016), France (in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016), Spain (in 2007 and 2013), Poland (in 2007), India (in 2008), Africa (in 2009), Balkan Region (in 2009 and 2013), Philippines (in 2009, Teen 2012 and 2014), Portugal (in 2010 and 2012), Israel (in 2011), Ukraine (in 2011), Argentina (in 2011 and 2016) and Albania (in 2013).

Pairs competitions

During the tenth week of the seventh UK series, the housemates were paired with their "best friend" in the house and had to nominate and face eviction as couples. The ninth US season added a romantic theme by pairing up the housemates and having them compete as couples. In the second celebrity edition of the Philippine version, two housemates related by profession or family played as one. The second season of the Philippine teen edition also featured the parents or guardians of the teens staying in the house; if a teen housemate was evicted, the coinciding parent or guardian would also be evicted. The thirteenth US season introduced Dynamic Duos, where contestants formed pairs that would be nominated together; the nominee not evicted would be immune from further nomination until the final 10 when pairs were dissolved. The fourth Greek season was dubbed "Big Mother" and featured nine housemates accompanied by their mothers.

Secret missions

Secret missions are a common element of the show since their introduction during the sixth UK series. During these missions, one or more housemates are set a task from Big Brother with the reward of luxuries for the household and/or a personal reward if the task is successful. Some versions of Big Brother have secret tasks presented by another character who lives in plain sight of the housemate. Such characters include Marsha the Moose (from BB Canada) and Surly the Fish (from BB Australia).

The eighth US season introduced "America's Player", where a selected house guest must complete various tasks (determined by public vote) in secret for the duration of their stay in the house in exchange for a cash reward. It was repeated in the tenth US season for a week. The eleventh US season featured Pandora's Box, in which the winning head of household was tempted to open a box, with unintended consequences for the house. The twelfth US season featured a saboteur, who entered the house to wreak havoc with tasks suggested by viewers. The sixteenth US season featured "Team America", in which 3 houseguests were selected to work as a team to complete tasks (determined by public voting) for a cash reward; this continued for the entire season despite the eviction of a team member.

The fourth Argentine series added a telephone in the living room. This telephone rang once a week for ten seconds, and the person to pick up the receiver was given an order or news from Big Brother (which typically no other housemate could hear). The order could be beneficial or detrimental, but a refused order resulted in nomination for eviction and if nobody picked up the call the whole house would be nominated.[7]

Opening night twists

Since Big Brother 2, the UK series has opened with a twist. This has included having three finalists (Big Brother 2); public voting for least-favourite housemates, with the housemates choosing between two nominees to evict (Big Brother 3); first-night nominations (Big Brother 4); suitcase nominations (Big Brother 5); Unlucky Housemate 13 (Big Brother 6); Big Brother Hood (Big Brother 7); an all-female house and a set of twins as contestants (Big Brother 8); a couple entering as housemates, who must hide their relationship (Big Brother 9); housemates having to earn housemate status (Big Brother 10); a mole entering the house with an impossible task (Big Brother 11); Jackie Stallone entering a house containing her son's ex-wife (Celebrity Big Brother 3); a non-celebrity in a celebrity edition (Celebrity Big Brother 4); a visit from Jade Goody's family (Celebrity Big Brother 5) and unlocked bedrooms allowing housemates to immediately claim beds[8] with the last housemate becoming the Head of House (Celebrity Big Brother 6).

A common opening twist is to only introduce cast of a single sex on the premiere of the show while having members of the opposite sex introduced over the next few days. The eighth UK series first used this twist with an initial all-female house, adding a male housemate two days later. The same twist was used in the (fourth Bulgarian series), and an all-male premiere was used on Big Brother Africa 4.

Fake evictions

The fifth UK series introduced fake evictions, where one or two housemates are "evicted". In the eighth UK series one housemate was evicted, interviewed and sent back into the house.

In the fifth Philippine edition, four housemates were fake-evicted and stayed in a place called bodega.

In the tenth Australian season, Benjamin Zabel was fake-evicted for 24 hours before being returned to the house with immunity from eviction for that week. In the eleventh Australian season Travis Lunardi was fake-evicted and received advice from Benjamin Zabel for 24 hours; Travis returned to the house after a 3-day absence with immunity from eviction for that week.

In the thirteenth Brazilian series, Anamara Barreira was fake-evicted. She was removed and put into a small private apartment without the other housemates knowing she was still in the house. After 24 hours, she returned to the house as Head of Household and with immunity from eviction that week. In the sixteenth Brazilian series, Ana Paula Renault was similarly fake-evicted, put into a small private apartment, and returned after 48 hours with immunity from eviction that week.

In the first Turkish series, there is a fake eviction in week 10.


The fourteenth US season had four house guests from past seasons return to coach twelve new house guests, playing for a separate prize of $100,000. However, in a reset twist, they opted to join the normal game alongside the other house guests.

Red button

The seventh Argentine series incorporated a red button into the Confession Room, which would sound an alarm throughout the house. This button was to be used when a contestant wanted to leave the house voluntarily, and the contestant would be given five minutes to leave the house.[9] A red button is also used in Secret Story series, however in this case whoever presses the button will try to guess someone's secret.

Legacy rewards or penalties

In Celebrity Hijack UK, evicted housemates were given the opportunity to choose if a "ninja" delivered good or bad gifts to the house. Later that year, the eighth Australian series introduced the Housemate Hand Grenade, where an evicted housemate decided which remaining housemate received a penalty. A similar punishment used on Big Brother Africa was called the Molotov Cocktail, Dagger or Fuse.

Most valuable player

The fifteenth US season allowed viewers to vote for a house guest to be made M.V.P., who then secretly nominates a third house guest for eviction (in addition to the two selected by the Head of Household). In a further twist, the viewers themselves decided who the third nominee would be. Like many such twists, this was ended halfway into the season as the pool of contestants shrank.

Multiple heads of household

The sixteenth US season and seventeenth US season featured two Heads of Household every week and had four house guests nominated for eviction. There was also a "Battle of the Block" competition where the two sets of nominees competed to save themselves; the winning pair not only saved themselves but dethroned the Head of Household who nominated them, who was then vulnerable as a replacement nominee if a veto was used.

Multiple winners

In 2011, Big Brother Africa 6 was the first season of Big Brother to have two winners, each getting US$200,000.

Reserve house mates

The fourth Philippine season introduced reserved housemates, short-listed auditioners who were given a chance to be a housemate by completing tasks assigned by Big Brother. This was also done in Argentina's seventh season and Brazil's ninth season.

Twists involving multiple franchises

Housemate exchanges

In 2002, the Mexican and Spanish editions (BBM1 and GH3) made temporary housemate exchanges. Mexico's Eduardo Orozco swapped with Spain's Andrés Barreiro for 7 days. In 2010, the first 2-housemate exchange was held by Spain and Italy (GH11 and GF10). Gerardo Prager and Saray Pereira from Spain were swapped with Carmela Gualtieri and Massimo Scattarella of Italy for 7 days.

In later years, several housemate exchanges were done around the world: Argentina (GH3) and Spain (GH4), Ecuador (GH1) and Mexico (BBM2), and Africa (BBA1) and United Kingdom (BB4) in 2003; Scandinavia (BB2) and Thailand (BBT2) in 2006; Philippines (PBB2) and Slovenia (BB1), and Argentina (GH5) and Spain (GH9) in 2007; Africa (BBA3) and Finland (BB4) in 2008; Finland (BB5) and Philippines (PBB3) in 2009; Finland (BB6) and Slovenia (BBS1) in 2010; Spain (GH12) and Israel (HH3) in 201011; Finland (BB7) and Norway (BB4) in 2011; Argentina (GH7) and Israel (HH4) in 2012; and Mexico (BB4) and Spain (GH16) in 2015.

Evicted housemate exchanges

In 2003, Mexico's Isabel Madow (BB VIP2) and Spain's Aída Nízar (GH5) were swapped for 7 days. This twist was also done between Russia (BBR1) and Pacific (GHP1) in 2005, and Argentina (GH4) and Brazil (BBB7) in 2007.

Other exchanges

In 2009, as part of the casting process for Italy's GF9, Doroti Polito and Leonia Coccia visited Spain's GH10.

In 2012, four contestants from Denmark's BB4 visited Sweden's BB6 and competed in a Viking-themed challenge. The Danish team won and 'kidnapped' Swedish contestant Annica Englund to the Denmark house for the following week.

In 2012, evicted housemate Laisa Portella of Brazil (from BBB12) was a guest on Spain's Gran Hermano 13 for a week; the following week, non-evicted Noemí Merino of GH13 stayed in the Brazilian Big Brother house for 5 days.

Evicted housemate visits

Anouska Golebiewski, an evicted housemate from the United Kingdom (housemate from BB4) visited Australia (BB3) in 2003. In 2005, United Kingdom (Nadia Almada of BB5) visited Australia (BB5) again. In 2006, United Kingdom (Chantelle Houghton of CBB4) visited Germany (BBG6). This twist was used in later years by other countries: Africa (Ricardo Ferreira of BBA3) visited Brazil (BBB9) in 2009; Germany (Annina Ucatis and Sascha Schwan of BBG9) visited the Philippines (PBB3), and Italy (George Leonard and Veronica Ciardi of GF10) visited Albania (BB3) in 2010; Sweden (Martin Granetoft and Peter OrrmyrSara Jonsson of BB5) visited Norway (BB4) in 2011; Brazil (Rafael Cordeiro of BBB12) visited Spain (GH12), and Argentina (Agustín Belforte of GH4) visited Colombia (GH2) in 2012; United States (Dan Gheesling of BB10/BB14) visited Canada (BB1 and the BB2 Jury) in 2013; Canada (Emmett Blois of BB1) visited South Africa (BBM3) in 2014; and Spain (Paula Gonzalez of GH 15) visited Mexico (BBM4) in 2015.

A similar event took place between the United States and Canada in 2014 wherein Rachel Reilly (from BB12/BB13) made a video chat to Canada (BB2). Rachel Reilly also appeared on Big Brother Canada's side show, which airs after the eviction episode.

Housemates competing in another country

There were occasions that a former housemate from one franchise participated and competed in a different franchise: Daniela Martins of France (SS3) competed in Portugal (SS1); Daniel Mkongo of France (SS5) competed in Italy (GF12); Brigitte Nielsen of Denmark (BB VIP) competed in the United Kingdom (CBB3); Jade Goody of the United Kingdom (BB3, BB Panto, and CCB5) competed in India (BB2); Sava Radović of Germany (BB4) competed in the Balkan States (VB1); Nikola Nasteski of the Balkan States (VB4) competed in Bulgaria (BB All-Stars 1); Žarko Stojanović of France (SS5) competed in the Balkan States (VB VIP5); Željko Stojanović of France (SS5) competed in the Balkan States (VB VIP5); Kelly Baron of Brazil (BBB13) competed in Portugal (BB VIP); Lucy Diakovska of Bulgaria (VIP B4) competed in Germany (PBB1); Leila Ben Khalifa of Italy (GF6) competed in France (SS8); Priya Malik of Australia (BB11) competed in India (BB9); Tim Dormer of Australia (BB10) and Nikki Grahame of the United Kingdom (BB7, UBB) competed in Canada (BB4); Leonel Estevao-Luto of Africa (BB4) competed in Angola & Mozambique (BB3); Frankie Grande of the United States (BB16) competed in the United Kingdom (CBB18); Fanny Rodrigues of Portugal (SS2) competed in France (SS10); and Tucha Anita of Angola (BB3) and Amor Romeira of Spain (GH9) competed in Portugal (SS6).

Multiple-franchise competitions

Eurovision Song Contest

Team and Song Jury's points Dates Winner
Italy GF11 Greece BB5 Argentina GH6 Total Tests Israel Performance Spain Performance Ratings Closed
Spain GH12: "A-Ba-Ni-Bi" 12 12 12 36 30 Dec 2010 to 4 Jan 2011 5 Jan 2011 6 Jan 2011 7 Jan 2011 8 Jan 2011 Spain GH12
Israel HH3: "Bandido" 10 10 10 30

FIFA World Cup

Series participants Prize Points Winner Date
Germany BB10 Germany
United Kingdom BB11 United Kingdom
A screening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup (Round of 16) Germany vs. England game After five penalties, the score was 1–1 and the game went to sudden death. After 36 penalties, German housemate Robert shot the ball wide and UK housemate Ife scored, winning 2–1. United Kingdom BB11 26 June 2010

Special editions

Celebrity and VIP Big Brother

The Big Brother format has been adapted in some countries; the housemates are local celebrities, and the shows are called Celebrity Big Brother or Big Brother VIP. In some countries, the prize money normally awarded to the winning housemate is donated to a charity, and all celebrities are paid to appear in the show as long as they do not voluntarily leave before their eviction or the end of the series. The rest of the rules are nearly the same as those of the original version. The celebrity version has become particularly popular in the UK, causing UK broadcaster Channel 5 to extend its deal with Endemol enabling them to air two celebrity series in addition to the civilian version every year from 2012.[10] As of 2016 the UK has aired 18 celebrity series and in summer 2019 are expected to celebrate the 20th. In Bulgaria, VIP Brother has replaced the original format of the show and more seasons of the celebrity edition have been produced than the regular one. Due to the show's popularity there, it lasts for two months unlike most countries where it only airs for a month.


The 2006 Netherlands series was entitled Hotel Big Brother. This variation introduced a group of celebrity hoteliers and a Big Boss, who run a hotel and collect money for charity without nominations, evictions or a winner.

Another variation appeared in the UK in early 2008, entitled Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack. Instead of being housemates the celebrities became Big Brother himself, creating tasks and holding nominations with the help of Big Brother. The housemates were considered by the producers "Britain's most exceptional and extraordinary" 18- to 21-year-olds. The prize for the winner of the series was £50,000.[11]

In 2009, VIP Brother 3 Bulgaria introduced the concept of celebrities competing for charitable causes, which changed each week. Housemates were sometimes allowed to leave the house to raise money for the charity.

US and English Canadian version

For more details on these Big Brother versions, see Big Brother (U.S.) and Big Brother Canada.

The United States and Canada's version of Big Brother is different from most versions of the series. The US series began in 2000 with a format much similar to the international format, however, due to poor ratings and the strong popularity of Survivor, beginning in the second season, a game play-oriented format was implemented where the contestants are encouraged to strategize and form alliances with each other to avoid weekly eviction and improve their chance at winning. For this new format, a group of 12 to 16 contestants compete to win the series by voting each other off and being the last house guest remaining. Each week, one house guest is chosen (usually by competition) as the Head of Household (HoH) and must nominate two of their fellow house guests for eviction. The winner of the Power of Veto (introduced in the 3rd US season) has the option to save one of the nominees from the eviction vote, forcing the HoH to nominate another house guest in the former nominee's place. The house guests then vote to evict one of the nominees. When only two contestants remain, the most recently evicted house guests (generally 7 or 9) form a jury and decide which of the two finalists would win the grand prize.

In 2013, English-speaking Canada began its own version based on the US version, but the viewing audience are given more control of the game. Secret tasks were also introduced and are usually presented by the show's mascot, "Marsha the Moose". These two elements cause fans of the show to call it a hybrid of the US and the UK/international editions.

Elements of this format (such as having one contestant winning the position of or similar to Head of Household or allowing contestants to talk and strategize about the nomination/eviction process) have been adapted in other editions of the show, notably the French Canadian version, where the format was followed almost exactly, but the public could evict a housemate on some occasions and decided the winner in the end.

Other editions

The Big Brother format has been otherwise modified in some countries:

There are also "test runs", with a group of celebrities (or journalists) living in the house for several days to test it. There are occasions where people who have auditioned for the show are also put in the house, most notably in the British edition, where many housemates claim to have met before. These series have been televised in Argentina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, the Pacific region, the Philippines and Spain. In some cases, it is not broadcast, but in others, such as the US edition, it is used as a promotional tool.


Through 1 December 2016, Big Brother has produced 390 winners in over 54 franchises. The most recent winner is Katherine Sandoval from Panama Panama.

     Currently airing (6)
     An upcoming season (15)
     Status unknown (8)
     No longer airing (29)
Country/Region Local title Network(s) Winner(s) Presenter(s)
Big Brother Africa M-Net
DStv (live)
Big Brother Africa: All-Stars Season 5, 2010: Nigeria Uti Nwachukwu
Big Brother Albania Top Channel
Big Brother Angola[13] DStv[13]
  • Angola Dicla Burity (1–)
  • Mozambique Emerson Miranda (3)
Big Brother Angola e Moçambique Season 3, 2016: Mozambique Anderson Mistake & Angola Papetchulo
Big Brother: الرئيس
Big Brother: The Boss
MBC 2 Season 1, 2004: Discontinued[14] Razan Moughrabi
 Argentina Gran Hermano Telefe
Canal 4
DirecTV (live;1–3, 6–8)
Cablevisión (live; 4–5, 8)
Main host:


América TV
Gran Hermano Famosos Telefe
Cablevisión (live)
 Australia Big Brother Australia Network Ten (1—8)
New Zealand TV2 (1–3, 5)
New Zealand Prime (4)
Nine Network (9—11)
New Zealand TV3 (10–11)
Gretel Killeen (17)
Kyle Sandilands (8)
Jackie O (8)
Sonia Kruger (9–11)
Celebrity Big Brother Network Ten Season 1, 2002: Dylan Lewis Gretel Killeen
Veliki Brat – Big Brother Croatia RTL (45)
Serbia B92 (1–3, 5)
Bosnia and Herzegovina OBN (5)
Bosnia and Herzegovina RTRS (5)
Republic of Macedonia Sitel (5)
Montenegro Prva (5)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Pink BH (1–4)
Montenegro Pink M (1–4)
Serbia Pink (4)
Republic of Macedonia A1 (3)
Veliki Brat VIP Serbia B92 (12, 5)
Bosnia and Herzegovina BN (5)
Montenegro Prva (5)
Bosnia and Herzegovina OBN (5)
Republic of Macedonia Sitel (5)
Serbia Pink (34)
Montenegro Pink M (14)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Pink BH (14)
Republic of Macedonia A1 (4)
Veliki Brat – Generalna proba[16] Serbia B92 Season 1, 2006: Serbia Jelena Provči & Marko Miljković Marijana Mićić
 Belgium Big Brother Kanaal Twee
Walter Grootaers
Big Brother VIPs vtm
Kanaal Twee
No Presenters
Big Brother All-Stars Kanaal Twee Season 1, 2003: Heidi Zutterman Walter Grootaers
 Brazil Big Brother Brasil Rede Globo
Canal BBB (live on PPV)
 Bulgaria Big Brother Nova Television
Nova+ (live; 1–4)
Diema Family (live; 5)

Main host:
Niki Kunchev (1–3, 5)
Milen Tsvetkov (4)
Evelina Pavlova (1–2)
Aleksandra Sarchadjieva (5)

Big Brother Family Nova Television
Diema Family (live)
Main host:
Niki Kunchev
VIP Brother Nova Television
Nova+ (live; 1–2)
Diema 2 (live; 3)
Diema Family (live; 4)

Main host:
Niki Kunchev
Evelina Pavlova (1)
Dimitar Rachkov (3)
Maria Ignatova (3)
Aleksandra Sarchadjieva (4present)

Big Brother All Stars Nova Television
Diema Family (live; 1)

Main host:
Niki Kunchev
Aleksandra Sarchadjieva

Big Brother Canada Slice
Arisa Cox
Loft Story TQS[17]
  • Marie Plourde (3–5)
  • Isabelle Maréchal (2)
  • Renée-Claude Brazeau (1)
Loft Story: La Revanche Season 6, 2009: Sébastien Tremblay Pierre-Yves Lord
Big Brother V Season 1, 2010: Vincent Durand Dubé Chéli Sauvé-Castonguay
 China 室友一起宅:先导季
Big Brother China:Pilot Season
Season 1, 2015-16: Tan Xiangjun Zhou Wentao (Live Final)
Big Brother China: Upcoming Season
  • TBA
 Colombia Gran Hermano Caracol TV Season 1, 2003: Mónica Patricia Tejón Adriana Arango
Citytv Bogotá[18] Season 2, 2012: Diana Hernández Agmeth Escaf
 Croatia Big Brother RTL
  • Daria Knez (1)
  • Neno Pavinčić (1)
  • Boris Mirković (13)
  • Renata Sopek (24)
  • Filip Brajković (4)
  • Marko Lušić (5)
  • Korana Gvozdić (5)
  • Antonija Blaće (25)
  • Marijana Batinić (6present)
Celebrity Big Brother Season 1, 2008: Danijela Dvornik Antonija Blaće
Marko Lušić
 Czech Republic Big Brother TV NOVA Season 1, 2005: David Šín
  • Eva Aichmajerová
  • Lejla Abbasová
  • Leoš Mareš
 Denmark Big Brother TV Danmark
Lisbeth Janniche
Kanal 5
Big Brother VIP TV Danmark Season 1, 2003: Thomas Bickham Lisbeth Janniche
Big Brother Reality All-Stars Season 1, 2005: Jill Liv Nielsen Lisbeth Janniche
 Ecuador Gran Hermano Ecuavisa Season 1, 2003: David Burbano Toty Rodríguez
 Finland Big Brother Sub
  • Elina Viitanen (6–8)
  • Susanna Laine (6–7)
  • Vappu Pimiä (3–5)
  • Mari Sainio (Kakko) (1–2, 9)
Julkkis Big Brother Season 1, 2013: Jori Kopponen Mari Sainio
 France Loft Story M6
Benjamin Castaldi
Secret Story TF1
NT1 (Daily recaps: 9)
CanalSat (live; 1)
Christophe Beaugrand (9present)
Benjamin Castaldi (18)

After Secret
Adrien Lemaître (3)
Leila Ben Khalifa (9)
Julie Taton (9)
Nadège Lacroix (7)
Emilie Fiorelli(10)

NT1 Season 10, 2016: Julien Geloën
 Germany Big Brother RTL 2
Sky (live; 10–11)
Premiere (live; 5–9)
VIVA (5, 9)
9Live (8)
Tele 5 (4–6)
MTV2 Pop (4–5)
RTL (2–3)
Single TV (2)
Sky (live)
Season 12, 2015: Belarus Lusy Skaya Jochen Bendel
Promi Big Brother Sat.1
sixx (2–)
Sky (live; 3–)
maxdome (live; 2)
Sky (live 3 hours; 1)
Sat.1 emotions (1)
Big Brother Greece ANT1 (1-4)
Alpha TV (5)
Sigma TV (5)
 Hungary Big Brother – Nagy testvér TV2
  • Claudia Liptai
  • Attila Till
Big Brother VIP
Való Világ powered by Big Brother[19] RTL II
Istenes Bence (6)
Nádai Anikó (8)

Győző Gáspár

Bigg Boss SET Season 1, 2006–07: Rahul Roy Arshad Warsi
Colors TV
Bigg Boss Halla Bol! Season 1, 2015: Gautam Gulati
Bigg Boss Bangla ETV Bangla Season 1, 2013: Aneek Dhar Mithun Chakraborty
Colors Bangla Season 2, 2016: Joyjeet Banerjee Jeet
Bigg Boss Kannada ETV Kannada Season 1, 2013: Vijay Raghavendra Sudeep
Suvarna TV Season 2, 2014: Akul Balaji
Colors Kannada
 Indonesia Big Brother Indonesia Trans TV Season 1, 2011: Alan Wangsa
  • Ferdi Hassan
  • Indra Herlambang
  • Sarah Sechan
  • Shara Aryo
 Israel האח הגדול
HaAh HaGadol
Channel 2-Keshet
HOT (live)
Yes (live)
VIP האח הגדול
HaAh HaGadol VIP
 Italy Grande Fratello Canale 5
Stream TV (live; 1–3)
SKY (live; 4–5, 8–9)

Mediaset Premium (live; 6–12)

Grande Fratello VIP Canale 5 Season 1, 2016: Republic of Ireland Alessia Macari Ilary Blasi
 Lithuania Paslapčių namai
House of Secrets
TV3 Lithuania Season 1, 2013: Gintautas Katulis
  • Agnė Grigaliūnienė
  • Marijus Mikutavičius
 Mexico Big Brother México Televisa
SKY (live)
Big Brother PM Canal 5
SKY (live)
  • Season 4, 2015: Eduardo "Chile" Miranda
  • Season 5, 2016: Upcoming season
Adela Micha
Big Brother VIP Televisa
SKY (live)
 Netherlands Big Brother Veronica
  • Esther Duller (2)
  • Beau Van Erven Dorens (2)
  • Rolf Wouters (1)
  • Daphne Deckers (1)
Big Brother VIPs Veronica Season 1, 2000: No winner Unknown
Talpa Season 2, 2006: No winner Caroline Tensen
Secret Story NET 5 Season 1, 2011: Sharon Hooijkaas
  • Renate Verbaan
  • Bart Boonstra
 Nigeria Big Brother Nigeria M-Net
DStv (live)
Season 1, 2006: Katung Aduwak
  • Olisa Adibua
  • Michelle Dede
Big Brother Naija GOtv
Season 2, 2017: Upcoming season
  • TBA
 Norway Big Brother Norge TVN
  • Trygve Rønningen (3)
  • Arve Juritzen (1–2)
TV 2 Bliss Season 4, 2011: Tine Barstad
Gran Hermano del Pacífico Ecuador RedTeleSistema
Chile RedTV
Peru ATV
Season 1, 2005: Ecuador Juan Sebastián López
  • Lorena Meritano (Main)
  • Álvaro Ballera & Álvaro García (Regional)
  • Janine Leal (Regional)
  • Juan Francisco Escobar (Regional)
 Panama Big Brother Panamá TVN Canal 2 Season 1, 2016: Katherine Sandoval
  • Rolando Sterling
  • Gaby Garrido
 Peru La Casa de Los Secretos Frecuencia Latina Season 1, 2012: Álvaro de la Torre
  • Carla García
  • Jason Day
 Philippines Pinoy Big Brother ABS-CBN
TFC (Worldwide)
SkyCable (live)
Studio 23 (live; 1–3)
Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition
  • Current
  • Toni Gonzaga (12)
  • Mariel Rodriguez (12)
  • Bianca Gonzalez (2)
  • Former
  • Luis Manzano (1)
Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition
  • Current
  • Bianca Gonzalez (1–4)
  • Toni Gonzaga (2–4)
  • Robi Domingo (4)
  • John Prats (4)
  • Former
  • Mariel Rodriguez (1–3)
  • Luis Manzano (2)
Pinoy Big Brother: Special Edition
  • Current
  • Bianca Gonzalez (5)
  • Mariel Rodriguez (7)
  • Toni Gonzaga (5)
  • Robi Domingo (5)
  • Former
  • John Prats (5)
  • Enchong Dee (6)
 Poland Big Brother TVN
  • Kuba Klawiter (4–5)
  • Małgorzata Kosik (5)
  • Karina Kunkiewicz (4)
Big Brother: Ty Wybierasz TVN
  • Season 1, 2001: Małgorzata Maier & Sebastian Florek
  • Season 2, 2001: Barbara Knap & Jakub Jankowski
Big Brother VIP TV4 Season 5 (part 1), 2008: Jarek Jakimowicz
  • Kuba Klawiter
  • Małgorzata Kosik
 Portugal Big Brother TVI
TVI Eventos (live; 1)
Teresa Guilherme
Big Brother Famosos TVI
TVI Direct (live; VIP)
Big Brother VIP
Secret Story: Casa dos Segredos TVI
TVI Direct (live; 1–5)
TVI Reality (live; 6–)
Secret Story: Desafio Final
Teresa Guilherme
Secret Story: Luta Pelo Poder Season 1, 2015: Bruno Sousa
 Romania Big Brother Prima TV
  • Andreea Raicu
  • Virgil Ianțu
 Russia Большой брат
Big Brother
TNT Season 1, 2005: Anastasia Yagaylova Ingeborga Dapkunaite
Norway Sweden Scandinavia[20] Big Brother Sweden Kanal5
Norway FEM
Sweden Kanal 9
Norway FEM
Season 3, 2014: Sweden Anders Olsson
Second Life Big Brother Second Life World Wide Web Season 1, 2006: Madlen Flint None
 Slovakia Big Brother Súboj TV Markíza Season 1, 2005: Richard Tkáč Zuzana Belohorcová
 Slovenia Big Brother Kanal A
  • Hosts:
  • Nina Osenar (12)
  • Ana Maria Mitič (3)
  • Manja Plešnar (4)
  • Co-hosts:
  • Matej Grm - Gušti (2)
  • Emi Nikočević (4)
  • Tibor Baiee (4)
Big Brother Slavnih POP TV
Nina Osenar
 South Africa Big Brother South Africa M-Net
DStv (live)
Big Brother Mzansi
Lungile Radu
Celebrity Big Brother Season 1, 2002: Bill Flynn
 Spain Gran Hermano Telecinco (Main program and debate)
Divinity (daily highlights) (24h live free)
Gran Hermano VIP
Gran Hermano: El Reencuentro
Gran Hermano: La Revuelta Season 1, 2012: Italy Alessandro Livi Mercedes Milá
 Sweden Big Brother Sverige Kanal5
Adam Alsing
Gry Forssell
Kanal 11
Adam Alsing
Big Brother Stjärnveckan Kanal5 Season 1, 2002: Anki Lundberg Adam Alsing
  Switzerland Big Brother Switzerland TV3 Switzerland
  • Eva Wannemacher (2)
  • Daniel Fohrler (1)
 Thailand Big Brother Thailand iTV
  • Saranyu Vonkarjun
  • Nana Raibeena (2)
 Turkey Big Brother Türkiye[21] Star TV
Asuman Krause[22]
Fox (Turkey)
  • Season 2, 2016: Upcoming season
 Ukraine Big Brother Україна K1 Season 1, 2011: Kristina Kotvickaja
  • Olga Gorbacheva
  • Oleksey Kurban
 United Kingdom Big Brother Channel 4 and
S4C (1–10)
PolandTVN Lingua
Davina McCall
Channel 5
MTV (16–)
Republic of IrelandTV3 (16–)
Celebrity Big Brother Channel 4 and
S4C (2–7)
Davina McCall
Channel 5
MTV (15–)
Republic of IrelandTV3 (16–)
Teen Big Brother Channel 4/E4 and
Series 1, 2003: Paul Brennan Dermot O'Leary
Big Brother Panto Channel 4/E4 and
Series 1, 2004–05: No winner Jeff Brazier

June Sarpong

Celebrity Hijack Channel 4/E4 and
Series 1, 2008: John Loughton Dermot O'Leary
Ultimate Big Brother Channel 4/E4 Series 1, 2010: Republic of Ireland Brian Dowling Davina McCall
 United States
Big Brother
(broadcast edition)
Showtime 2 (8–14)
Pop (15–)

Canada Slice
Canada Global
Canada Global Reality Channel[23]
United Kingdom E4 (4, 9)
Julie Chen
Big Brother: All-Stars Season 7, 2006: Mike Malin
Big Brother: Over The Top
(Digital Edition)
CBS All Access Season 1, 2016: Morgan Willett
 United States
Gran Hermano USA Telemundo Season 1, 2016: Pedro Orta[25] Giselle Blondet
 Vietnam Người giấu mặt VTV6 Season 1, 2013–14: Hoàng Sơn Việt Huy Khánh



In April 2000, Castaway, an independent production company, filed a lawsuit against John de Mol and Endemol for stealing the concepts of their own show called Survive!, a reality television show where contestants are placed on a deserted island and have to take care of themselves alone. These contestants were also filmed by cameras around them.[26] The court later dismissed the lawsuit filed by Castaway against de Mol and Endemol. The Survive! reality television format was later turned into Survivor.[27]

In 2000, the estate of George Orwell sued CBS Television and Endemol for copyright and trademark infringement, claiming that the program infringed on the Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and its trademarks. After a series of court rulings adverse to the defendants (CBS and Endemol), the case was settled for an undisclosed amount of money on the eve of trial.[28][29][30][31][32]

Sexual assault

There have been two documented occurrences of possible rape happening during the show. In Big Brother South Africa a male housemate was accused of assaulting a fellow housemate while she was asleep. The pair were filmed kissing and cuddling in bed before the cameras moved away and the male housemate reportedly claimed to housemates the next day that he had intercourse with the contestant. However, the female housemate was apparently shocked by the claims and informed female housemates that she had not consented to having sex with him. (Under South African law, this act would be constituted as rape.)[33] This male housemate was expelled immediately after the allegations surfaced, while the female housemate was removed from the house for her own protection and counselling. In Big Brother Brasil, many viewers reported that they watched a male housemate allegedly force himself on a female housemate while she was passed-out drunk after a "boozy party".[34] As a result, the male housemate was later escorted out of the Big Brother house by the police.


  1. 1 2 Drotner, Kirsten. "New Media, New Options, New Communities?" (PDF) (PDF). Nordicom. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  2. UK Channel 5 Web site, with many references to "BB"
  3. "Big Brother". Endemol. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  4. Scott, Matt (8 June 2012). "POLL: Should housemates be able to talk nominations?". BBSpy. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  5. Blake, Dawn (27 May 2008). "Complaint by Ms Dawn Blake" (PDF). Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin (PDF) (110).
  6. es:Anexo:Séptima temporada de Gran Hermano (Argentina)#Casa de al lado
  7. es:Anexo:Cuarta temporada de Gran Hermano (Argentina)#Cambios en el Juego
  8. Bryant, Tom (25 January 2009). "Celebrity Big Brother exclusive: La Toya Jackson's diva demands - 3am & Mirror Online". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  9. es:Anexo:Séptima temporada de Gran Hermano (Argentina)#Bot.C3.B3n rojo
  10. "Celebrity Big Brother to air twice a year in updated Channel 5 deal". Trash Lounge. 12 February 2012. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  11. "BB Celebrity Hijack - NEWS". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 21 June 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  12. Mozambique became also eligible to participate since 2016.
  13. 1 2 "Big Brother Angola on DStv Portuguesa". DStv. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  14. "Arab Big Brother show suspended". BBC News. 1 March 2004.
  15. Due to the car accident that killed three former housemates, Elmir Kuduzović, Stevan Zečević and Zorica Lazić, the producer decided to discontinue the series. The winning prize was divided by the surviving housemates.
  16. This version was only produced in Serbia.
  17. On August 31, 2009, TQS changed its name to V.
  18. "Gran hermano, por Citytv" (in Spanish). El Tiempo. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  19. Seasons 1 through 7 were not based on the Big Brother license
  20. Co-produced version with Norway and Sweden taking part.
  23. Global Reality Channel
  25. "gran-hermano"-big-brother-scheduled-premiere-2016-first "Auditions Begin for Telemundo's Upcoming "Gran Hermano" (Big Brother) Scheduled to Premiere in 2016 for the First Time in Spanish in the United States". NBC Universal Media Village. NBC Universal. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  26. "Geldof's Big Brother battle". BBC News. 20 April 2000. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  27. "Blow for mogul's Big Brother claim". BBC News. 24 August 2000. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  28. Estate of George Orwell v. CBS, et al. 00-C-5034 (N.D. Ill.)
  29. Variety, "Orwellian Suit Socks 'Brother", September 5, 2000
  30. The Times of London, "US Big Brother is Sued over 1984 Link", September 6, 2000
  31. New York Post, "CBS Loses 'Bro Battle', January 4, 2001
  32. Chicago Tribune, "CBS, Orwell Estate Settle 'Big Brother' Lawsuit", September 28, 2001.
  33. Paterson, Mark. "Big Brother's South African rape horror show". The Week. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  34. Roper, Matt. "Housemate on Brazilian version of Big Brother was 'raped on live TV' after alcohol-fuelled party". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 12 January 2015.


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