Paquette Brothers, Plinko Chips, And…Prodigal Houseguests?

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Jeff Schroeder from BB11 and BB13, his designated contestant, and host Drew Carey share a moment of excitement on a Big Brother version of The Price Is Right, airing on CBS, May 24, 2016.

We’re now eight days from learning the names of the latest wave of houseguests that will make up the 18th season of Big Brother here in the United States on CBS. The rumor mill on Twitter is as intense as I’ve ever seen it over this past two weeks, in full swing even before we gor to the Memorial Day holiday on May 30th.

As most of you know by now, the Paquette brothers (Nick and Phil) became the first co-winners in any North American big brother, winning the conclusive vote 7-2 over Kelsey Faith, a 25 year old flight attendant from Calgary. The Paquettes will share $100,000 (Canadian dollars, just over $76,600 in US dough) and prizes from The Brick, while Kelsey bagged the tidy sum of $20,000. Congrats to all three.

With other reality franchises (such as one-time stalwart American Idol) faltering across the TV dial, CBS wanted to show off that their three time reality franchise were still strong, or at least give such an appearance. The week prior to Memorial Day, Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Rice all got themed hours on The Price Is Right, the long-running game show that traces back all the way to 1956 on NBC.

On the BB version, contestants were teamed with houseguests from previous seasons, and most of the legends were invited to “come on down” to “Contestant’s Row” to bid on prizes in an effort to get on stage with Drew Carey in order to earn the chance to earn even bigger prizes, such as cars, cash, and vacations. (I’m sure most of you know the show forwards and backwards, right?)

In the show’s usual grand finale, it came down to a BB7 rematch: Will’s contestant met Janelle’s in a duel of bids of their respective showcases. Will’s designee Brian got a closer bid on his showcase than the guy representing Janelle, so Dr. Will’s short-time partner walked away with just over $52,000 in prizes, including a new Audi automobile.

In a few short days, all of the rumors in the Twitterverse will be put to the test, or put to rest.

The widely established rumors are that there will be returning houseguests joined by fresh faces, much like 2011’s BB13 and 2012’s BB14. Another set of rumors percolating out there is that the game will begin with a supersized field of 28 to 30 houseguests and that there will be some sort of initial playoff to reduce the field down to the 16 or so that enter the house.

While I normally discount the rumor mill until something substantive emerges, this sounds like something that would be in Allison Grodner’s wheelhouse, to mash-up concepts of previous seasons and presenting it as something new, as production has done many times before.  They like to be inventive in dribs and drabs, and not turn the show into something unrecognizable, even though the “Battle Of The Block” format of the past two years did that to some degree.

But it should also be pointed out that this isn’t the first “pre-season” that has had a menagerie of rumors, and past history suggests the rumor mill doesn’t have all that great a track record.

I’ll be back on June 14th with daily coverage (though I will take “days off” on days when nothing of substance happens) all the way up to the September finale. Also this season, I’m going to live up to the name of the site and do an actual semi-daily to daily commentary.

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