Inside the first night of 'Big Brother 13'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Big Brother" viewers watched as eight new contestants — or houseguests, as they're more commonly called on CBS' voyeuristic reality series — converged with three pairs of veteran players on Thursday night's 13th season premiere.
Yet the audience didn't get to eavesdrop on everything that happened during the first night of the summer-long competition.
The edited hour-long premiere condensed what actually happened over the course of about six hours last Saturday when the 14 houseguests moved into the camera-filled house situated on a soundstage on the CBS Studio City lot. (The show's live Internet feeds don't broadcast what happens inside the house until after the show debuts.)
Here's some of what you didn't see on TV:
— Outside the door to the house, cocktail waitress Rachel Reilly and graduate student Brendon Villegas, who met last summer during season 12 and later became engaged, shared a quiet moment together as they waited to enter the not-so-private abode. "Don't be nervous," Brendon told her as they stood outside the door. "I'm not nervous," Rachel retorted.
— Among the declarations sputtered by outspoken season-eight winner Richard "Evel Dick" Donato after he returned to the house with his estranged daughter Danielle Donato was that he was proud of CBS for casting three black contestants. He also told the other houseguests that the producers only called him on the previous Sunday to invite him to play "Big Brother" again.
— As the cast settled into the house, crew members were busy constructing the setting for the first Head of Household competition in the backyard: a makeshift jungle composed of leafy plants and big hanging bananas that were greased up by the crew. The back door was closed, which prompted the houseguests to speculate what workout equipment would be outside.
— The houseguests usually did not shut up. Throughout the evening, they typically congregated in one large group in the kitchen and engaged in multiple introductory conversations, making it difficult to decipher what everyone was saying to each other. "The first hour in the 'Big Brother' house is the best hour," exclaimed season 11 veteran Jeff Schroeder.
— The mood was surprisingly calm upstairs in the control room as a director monitored the action from more than 50 cameras. Staff transcribed the cast's conversations, while a producer in a booth interviewed partners Keith Henderson and Porsche Briggs, who were downstairs in the Diary Room. It was one of their first interactions outside the house.
— At one point in the backyard, co-executive producer Don Wollman surveyed the Head of Household preparation before he was interrupted by his own booming voice: "Houseguests, you are not allowed to talk about production." It's one of the prerecorded messages the cast will hear throughout the summer. He grinned and joked, "I'm already annoyed of that voice."
— Shelly Moore, the oldest newbie contestant at age 41, was the most star struck when the veteran couples were revealed. "It's like TV come to life!" she squealed before enthusiastically asking several of the seasoned players about what their "Big Brother" experiences were really like and what happened in their lives after leaving the show.
— The houseguests were already concocting conspiracy theories on their first night. Lawon Exum told partner Kalia Booker and part-time model Dominic Briones that he believed Porsche was actually Shelly's daughter. Several others besides Schroeder speculated that Dick and Danielle were no longer estranged but actually working closely together to win again.
— When it came time to change into color-coded uniforms for the first Head of Household competition, most of the contestants did not have any inhibitions about changing in front of the cameras — or each other. In the back bedroom, Dick instructed the male houseguests how to change clothes in the corner so that the cameras wouldn't capture their genitals.
— During the first Head of Household competition, the row of cameramen filming the houseguests hanging onto those giant bananas from behind a one-way mirror were as talkative as fans sitting on their couches at home. "Rachel's a tough chick," said one cameraman as the competitors dropped. The cast couldn't hear the chatter though. The wall is soundproof.
— After host Julie Chen revealed that the first four partners of evicted players would receive a Golden Key and be safe from elimination until the Top 10, a producer came over the speakers and explained how the twist would work in detail. When the cast queried how it would affect the Power of Veto, he told them that they would learn about it later.