Does that mean we will see the first eviction on the Thursday night show? We've never had a two-hour BB episode before, that I'm aware of. Even the finale is only 90 minutes long, so a two-hour episode to kick off the season is indeed big news.
Here's what we know, or what we think we know about the twists in store for the players this season.
*** FOUR RETURNING PLAYERS FROM PREVIOUS SEASONS ***
Four returning house guests are joining the cast of 12 newbies that we've already met. Don't let the silhouettes drive you crazy....CBS has a history of using unrelated shadow people to tease all of their shows. (Apparently they used Ian Terry's silhouette to promote a recent season of The Amazing Race.)
There were a couple of sources who were spreading rumors of various house guests who would return for BB18. A few of these sources were spreading total crap, but I think they might have actually been in cahoots with production, to draw attention from the names of the actual returnees.
I don't know when these rumors started, or exactly who started them, but the list below is generally agreed-upon in the Big Brother community, based on various snippets of information available online. For example, certain former house guests have tried to call certain other former house guests, and their phones say they are "not accepting calls". And there were pictures of one of them on a plane taken by a fan, presumably embarking on a trip to Los Angeles.
Note that these four returnees likely know all about the rumors of Tiffany Rousso and Paulie Califiore being on the cast, because they left for sequester well after that information had been chewed up and spit out all over the Big Brother subreddit.
Will the fear of Vanessa cause them to target Tiffany right away? Or will they scramble to be the first to pull her into an alliance? I don't think Paulie will cause any fear, but I'm sure they would like to align with someone like that, who can play hard in comps and just might be loyal to a fault like his little brother Cody. The returnees will either rush to recruit those two, because they need numbers, or publicly target them if their backs are against the wall.
The four rumored returnees are:
* Frank Eudy, BB14
* Nicole Franzel, BB16
* Da'Vonne Rogers, BB17
* James Huling, BB17
I'm sure we'll be discussing how happy or unhappy we are with this list for the next few weeks and months, but this is the news we are all working with now.
*** BATTLE OF THE BLOCK IS BANISHED, TO BE REPLACED WITH A NEW COMPETITION ***
This is kind of a wildcard, and I caution us not to get all excited until we learn the details. For example, last year we were supposed to have the "BB Takeover" all summer, but that disappeared after just a few sad weeks.
This is what this article says about this change in the game:
I have to caution you that the article does present a lot of other information as exciting and new, but it is just the same old stuff. For example, they state the "whole house is being revamped" and that the "Have Not room will be newly decorated", even pointing out that the Have Not room is not where the BB18 house guests want to be.
But Heath Luman did confirm the end of the BoB via Twitter, so we can rely on that, for sure. I'm thinking that the house guests will be split into four teams (more on that later), so the new competition may be a team challenge to win some sort of advantage---like an additional "team vote" for eviction or something. (Because that would cause tension, right? And a lot of potential beef with each other if they don't agree.) Or maybe they win a chance to negate someone's vote to evict one of the nominees.
That would be exciting, if that person had to stand up and make that declaration on the live show, wouldn't it? It was rumored on Twitter that this year Julie will not announce the vote details, only who is being evicted. If true, that simple change will rock the house, making it hard to determine who is actually on your side or not. Paranoia and lies...I LOVE IT. I hope this rumor is true, but I know better than to get my heart set on mere speculation.
I know Production didn't like the food or Have Not competitions because they didn't think they were "high stakes" enough.
Ultimately we will be the judges of this new competition, so we will all decide if the stakes are high or not. And there are some pretty bold statements in the article.
*** HOW WILL THE RETURNING PLAYERS FIT INTO THE GAME? ***
I loved the way that the BB14 coaches had to pick their teams just a few minutes after entering the house, but I don't think the returning players this summer will be playing a coaching role. I mean, look at that list again.....these people as a whole ARE NOT coach material, where you could only really say that about one of the coaches during BB14.
The theme of this season is apparently "Summer Vacation". Some people think that might mean summer camp, and that the returnees will be "camp counselors". I don't know about all of that, but this is my guess at this year's opening twist:
The house guests will be divided into cliques, in a similar fashion as BB11. BB11 featured the following cliques:
* The Popular clique (Da'Vonne the Social Butterfly)
* The Athlete clique (Frank the Tank)
* The Brains clique (Nicole the Nurse)
* The Offbeats clique (James, because James)
That fits, right? I'm having trouble putting the newbies into this format, though, based on what I know about them at this point.. I was finding it easy, but then I reviewed the male-female breakdown, keeping the returnees in mind, and I got stumped. The issue is the lack of male brains this year! Also that I didn't want to stack the Athlete team with too much male muscle.
But just like Beauty-Brains-Brawn breakdown on Survivor, some of the newbies could fit into several different classifications, but the basic idea works. I know I don't have any men listed on the Brains team, but you'll have to talk to Robyn Kass about that. I'm not seeing any male Rhodes Scholars on the roster this year. I'm just guessing here......
* The Popular clique - Natalie, Paulie, Jozea
* The Athlete clique - Victor, Zakiyah, Corey
* The Brains clique - Tiffany, Bridgette, Michelle
* The Offbeats clique - Glenn, Paul, Bronte
One good thing about this clique or team concept is that it provides a certain level of protection for the returning players, if the entire team is safe if one of them wins the HoH. It will automatically provide natural alliances, whether the players like it or not, and of course the game gets really juicy when they form friendships or alliances across team lines.
But maybe I'm over-complicating things. Maybe we don't need cliques at all.
I heard Ian Terry discuss the returnees on the Dom and Colin podcast, and he thinks that the first HoH competition will be held without the returnees, and that they will enter the house after that competition is over. He then thinks that Production will say that the returnees can't be nominated the first week, since they couldn't play for HoH. That would give them a week to build some relationships in the house in an attempt to avoid the newbies from ganging up on the returnees right away.
(I think we're more likely to see the actual BB fans in the house try to align with them, as in BB13.)
*** ABOUT THOSE BB11 CLIQUES ***
Obviously I spend a lot of time watching this show every year, as well as watching the live feeds and reporting on it. But I NEVER go back and watch any of the old seasons. In order to review the clique situation, though, I did go back and watch a few of the early episodes of BB11. Production really had fun coming up with high-school related competitions to really play up the clique theme.
For example, the first HoH competition required them to wear some huge tighty-whitey undies and hang from a toilet seat. Yes, a toilet seat. Here are a few of the BB11 house guests that you may not be that familiar with, if you're a more recent fan of the show.
Casey was a high school teacher and also a DJ at local events in Tampa, Florida. There was some drama on the web that year when it was discovered that Casey and Jessie Godderz already knew each other. Casey MC'd some sort of body building event that Jessie participated in---there was film of this out there, I think.
Casey is or was a big drinker, from what I've heard from people who have interacted with him in the outside world. He also fancies himself as a sort of street thug, using a lot of slang and swagger. Casey was evicted wearing a banana suit, which is one of the costume curses of the game.
Zach Rance wasn't the first BB house guest to rep the Florida Gators on the show.
Chima Simone was cast because she was a friend of Marcellas Reynolds. She was also a survivor of the "Bathtub Rapist", but of course that was unrelated to her BB casting.
Chima is more widely known, however, for flipping her shit in there after Jeff Schroeder won the "Coup d'Etat" fan vote and was able to override her HoH nominations and make his own nominations. That "live" episode actually had to be pre-taped, since Chima knew a twist was coming, and had repeatedly threatened to curse like a sailor if the twist was not favorable to her. And Production already had to bleep most of her speech on the first live show, because she was accusing her co-nominee of being a bigot, after repeating several racial slurs that he apparently said (before the feeds went live).
Chima was a very reluctant house guest from that point forward, refusing to go to the Diary Room and also putting towels over the cameras in her bedroom. Then she threw her mic pack in the pool, and that was the end for Production. Chima was called into the DR, REPEATEDLY, and when she got there, Allison Grodner told her there was "no need to sit down", and that was the end of Chima's Big Brother career.
Laura had big boobs, and talked about them a lot. For example:
Laura: I can't help that I have big boobs!
(Um....actually you can, Laura, since you paid for them.)
And here's Michelle Noonan, who was some sort of PhD candidate when cast for the show, before morphing into a very troubled person. She divorced her apparently shocked husband, and refused to speak with her family. Her mother tried to appeal to her in a public manner, via Twitter, begging her to contact them and scolding her for missing her young brother's birthday.
She went through several rounds of rather extreme plastic surgery. She bleached her hair blonde. She appeared in some sort of pornographic film that included "Dunbar" from the Real World Challenge series.
She later married some sort of "Weed Doctor", but that marriage flamed out with a series of spectacular Twitter battles alleging all sorts of physical abuse and theft of belongings. I'm all for legalizing cannabis, but I'm not sure that Michelle Noonan is the most effective advocate for the movement.
You know, because crazy. But I shouldn't say that and I'm sorry. Mental health is not something we should joke about.
Natalie Martinez was a very polarizing force during BB11. She actually played her ass off in there, and was surprisingly strategic, in addition to being a physical threat. (She was some sort of Tae Kwan Do junior champion.) Her relationship with Jessie Godderz was extremely complicated---she spent so much time with him in the house, but was OBLIVIOUS to the fact that Jessie was being serviced every afternoon by Lydia Tavera.
She was mad when she found out about that. And Jessie was mad at her when he learned that she lied to him about her real age. (She told everyone she was only 18, but she was actually 24.) So much for them being besties after the season ended. Natalie is now married and has a child. She was one of the most hated players that season, and maybe for the entire series. There have been rumors about Natalie being asked back before, but it's never happened. She was actually rumored to be one of the BB14 coaches, which would have made more sense than Britney Haynes being a coach, strategy-wise.
Natalie's boyfriend actually appeared on the show via a Pandora's Box segment and proposed to her using a ring made out of aluminum foil or something. Then no one in the house believed her about that, because the "ring" was so shabby....they thought she won some sort of fabulous prize and lied about it.
Sometimes the truth is really stranger than fiction.
Russell was very strange to me. He seemed to have some sort of financial background, and some sort of professional job in finance, but he was also an MMA fighter and seemed prone to Roid Rages.
He had screaming fights with Jeff and he actually chest-bumped Jordan as she tried to defend Jeff. Russell also terrorized Ronnie (the Rat) and Chima. He actually HARASSED Ronnie in a manner that would NEVER be allowed on today's show. Ronnie actually barricaded himself in his HoH room for days, hiding from Russell and sobbing. I think Russell would have been more suited for Survivor, actually.
If you're cast for a show like Big Brother, you really need to try and suss out which of your cast mates are popular with the viewing audience. Because if you get on the wrong side of that, your game and future CBS reality prospects might be very limited.
Of course I'm talking about Big Jeff here. No one on that cast seemed to have any idea of the fan support that Jeff had, until it was revealed that America had gifted him with the Coup d'Etat power. In fact, I didn't even hear ANYONE in the house speculate that he might be the winner. I think they all assumed Jessie would win any sort of fan vote, since it was his second time playing.
They just thought Big Jeff was a big dumb idiot who couldn't spell.
As mentioned earlier, Production really made a meal out of the high school themed competitions. For the first PoV, they put together a truly gross competition that featured a huge face covered with teenaged pimples.
Each of the blemishes had letters hidden in there, but you had to paw through handfuls of gross stuff to get to them. Shit got real messy, as the competitors tried to spell what would be the longest word correctly.
And then "acne cream" started spewing through the air, to really ramp up the gross factor.
I forgot about this competition until I saw it again this morning. I did remember Big Jeff's word that he spelled, though. We all do, actually.
It's technotronics, which is not only NOT a real word, it was spelled incorrectly. I also forgot that this word is what set Russell off on Jeff. Russell thought Jeff threw the competition and was therefore playing against their Athletic Clique.
Laura: Yes, because Jeff is smart! He's in sales!
(Ha ha ha ha ha. What?)
Russell: Well, he either threw it, or he's a moron!
(Ha ha ha ha ha.)
I guess all's well that ends well for Jeff and Jordan.