Big Brother 1, known at the time as Big Brother 2000 (much like the
international versions, which do not use numbers to classify each season,
but the year they were broadcast), is the debut season of the American
version of the international reality show Big Brother. It was the first
series to be broadcast in English, premiering only days before the British
version (however in the British version, the housemates had gone into the
house 5 days prior to the start of Big Brother in the US). Seventy
episodes aired from July 5 to September 29, 2000. Julie Chen, a host of
CBS This Morning and The Early Show, was named the host.
Interestingly, although the success of Survivor: Borneo in the summer
of 2000 is generally seen as the forerunner to the reality show trend
which followed, Big Brother was the only other major network reality show
to be airing at that same time.
Although later seasons of the show followed a radically different
format, the debut season of Big Brother followed the same format as the
other international versions of the show.
Each week the HouseGuests would nominate two fellow HouseGuests for
banishment. The two HouseGuests with the most nominations were then put up
for a vote by the viewing public who selected which HouseGuest to be
banished, via a 900 number. However, problems with the public voting
system included the fact that the most controversial contestants were
banished (evicted) early in the game, leaving the least colorful
contestants in the house. Also, the 900 number allowed for mass voting and
in one memorable week contestant George's family and his hometown of
Rockford, Illinois organized a mass-voting campaign to flood the phone
lines in his favor.
Unlike in later seasons, the HouseGuests did not compete against each
other for food or positions of power. Rather they had to undergo various
tasks of endurance or problem-solving, such as puzzles, or dancing for a
full day without stopping, and if successful it resulted in a reward.
Differences in Season One
This season featured unique rules or events not featured in any later
* Unlike later seasons the show aired six times a week; a one hour live
studio show, four half-hour daily recap episodes, and a one hour weekly
* In this season, the 24-hour live internet feeds were entirely free to
the viewing public while later, the feeds would involve a subscriber cost.
* For the first few Live Eviction shows, Julie Chen had a co-host, Ian
O'Malley, who would greet the HouseGuests after they were banished, and
direct them to the live studio.
* In live eviction episodes, Julie Chen was frequently joined in-studio
by TV and radio personality "Dr. Drew" Pinsky, to discuss
psychological and interpersonal aspects of ongoing events. Also joining
Julie was Regina Lewis as the "AOL Online Adviser", Regina
highlighted online forum discussions and shared results from online polls.
Neither "Dr. Drew" Pinsky nor Regina Lewis returned in
* In this season only, the house's front door exited into the open air
and departing HouseGuests were greeted by cheering fans, before being
directed to a studio to be interviewed by Julie. For future seasons, the
house's front door exited into a closed studio, until it was announced
that Big Brother 10 in 2008 would feature a return to a live audience
attending eviction episodes.
* As the number of HouseGuests dwindled, the show started losing
viewers, and producer Paul Romer hoped to spice up the proceedings on Day
64 by offering to pay one of the HouseGuests $20,000 to leave and be
replaced with a new, more interesting HouseGuest. Romer bragged in the
media that they would have no problem getting a contestant to leave. On
the Wednesday live show, viewers were introduced to Beth, an alternate
from the casting process who described herself as being
"opinionated" and "a bitch." Despite prodding from
Julie Chen to take what began as $20,000, and was increased to $50,000,
none of the HouseGuests would take the money and leave the game.
* Although the HouseGuests were cut off from the outside world, the
courtyard of the house was completely uncovered. Viewers quickly realized
this and began to hire airplanes pulling large banners containing messages
meant to communicate with the HouseGuests. This continued on the second
season but by the third season the HouseGuests were instructed to not read
plane banners, oftentimes they were moved into the house whenever an
airplane with a banner flew overhead. (Illustrated in the tenth season
when a plane banner meant for someone else flew overhead and houseguests
started to conspire what it said) Viewers realized this quickly too, and
would fly banners over during Endurance competitions when they couldn't be
ordered to come in. (Seen in Big Brother 8 when a banner during an
endurance competition made an impact on the game)
* On August 9, a pug named Chiquita was introduced to the house.
Shortly after entering the house, Chiquita jumped into the pool, and Josh
jumped in to save her; shortly thereafter, the producers built a fence
around the pool for protection. As well, there were chickens in the
backyard that the HouseGuests were supposed to take care of. When
Chiquita's owners took her home, they even showed a picture of her with
the "Banished" stamp over it like every other HouseGuest who had
* A narrator would briefly introduce the topic of discussion each time
a new scene or scenario was being shown. Also, the show would often
feature the voices of Big Brother producers, both in diary room interviews
and over the house loudspeakers. In future seasons, there is no voiceover
narration during the show (except at the beginning to recap the last
episode), and what the producers say in the Diary Room is normally not
shown (with a few exceptions).
* The theme song for Season One was called "Live," and was
performed by Jonathan Clarke. Bits and pieces of the song were played
during the closing credits of each episode, but was never played in its
entirety. The song is available on a hard-to-find soundtrack CD produced
by the Dutch show producers, along with the first-season theme songs of
shows in Argentina, Spain, and Germany. An instrumental version of the
theme, heavy on acoustic guitar and/or saxophones, were used for the
opening credits and interstitials.
* The first season of Big Brother has generally been ignored by CBS
after it has aired. While all others seasons had a "Where are they
now?" segments on the following season, this did not occur for the
Season 1 contestants on Big Brother 2. The official website for Big
Brother 1 has been removed, although this is because the site was
maintained by AOL, not CBS.com, and was deleted prior to the premiere of
Big Brother 2. Will Kirby, the eventual winner of the following season,
admitted on the live feeds during Big Brother 7: All-Stars that during Big
Brother 2, the producers had told the HouseGuests not to mention Big
Brother 1. Clips from Big Brother 1 were shown on Big Brother All-Stars:
America's Vote, as George Boswell was the only potential candidate from
Big Brother 1. A never-used version of the present Big Brother logo, Big
Brother 1, replaced the logo originally used for that season. Big Brother
1 was not mentioned by the contestants of subsequent seasons until season
Redesign of show after Season One
Having spent millions to secure the American TV rights and construct a
house for the show, CBS engineered a major overhaul for the second season.
Paul Romer was removed from the production, and the role of Endemol was
greatly scaled back. Producers Arnold Shapiro and Allison Grodner were
brought in and completely reworked the program.
While most international versions of the show, including Big Brother UK
and Big Brother Australia, still follow this original "fly on the
wall" format, only the US version moved to a more strategy and
competition-based show to better fit the format of American reality
television. For example, in most international versions of the show,
HouseGuests are actually forbidden from discussing nominations or voting
plans, while in the US version it is highly encouraged.
In addition to the new rules and fewer recap shows per week, the
ratings were boosted by casting stronger personalities and younger,
attractive people making up the majority of the HouseGuests.
Brittany Petros from Robbinsdale, Minnesota, most known for her spunk
and wildly varying hair color. Currently, Brittany is an actress and has
done casting work for several reality shows. She was the fourth person to
be sent home.
Cassandra Waldon is a communications director at the United Nations
from Havre de Grace, Maryland. She was the fifth person sent
Curtis Kin is a lawyer from New York City currently employed with the
Domestic Security and Immigration Crimes Section of the U.S. attorney’s
office. Curtis was the second runner-up of Big Brother 1, winning
Eddie McGee was the winner of Big Brother 1 and $500,000. Eddie was
from Commack, New York and became an amputee when he lost his leg to
cancer prior to going on the show. Recently, Eddie has appeared in music
videos for the band Fozzy.
George Boswell, nicknamed Chicken George, was a roofer from Rockford,
Illinois. After his time on the show, George quit the roofing business and
began doing promotion jobs for the Tropicana Resort & Casino in Las
Vegas, Nevada. At one point in the show, he tried to encourage his fellow
housemates to walk-out in protest the show's rules. In 2006, George moved
into the Big Brother: All Stars house, but was evicted in the eighth
Jamie Kern (born July 16, 1977) is a beauty queen from Seattle,
Washington. Kern graduated from Washington State University, and became
Miss Washington USA in late 1999. She was marked for banishment in week
12, and was banished on Day 85. After Big Brother, Jamie appeared in an
episode of Baywatch and has since become a reporter for a local television
station. Kern graduated with an MBA from Columbia Business School in 2004,
worked as an anchor for KNDU until 2006 and then moved Portland, Oregon
where she worked for local Fox affiliate KPTV. She also hosted the Miss
Washington USA 2006 pageant.
Jean Jordan, who went by her last name, Jordan, was an exotic dancer
from Roanoke, Virginia. She was banished for making waves with the other
contestants. Notably, Jordan was the only Big Brother contestant to
receive major media coverage upon leaving the house. Unlike the Survivor
contestants, Jordan was the only houseguest to appear on The Late Show
with David Letterman and later went on to mock Big Brother in the media,
noting what a bad show it was, and saying that she should have held out
for Survivor: The Australian Outback. In one of the series' most memorable
moments, Jordan went so far as to ridicule the theme song on the final
episode, telling host Julie Chen "... You know, I'm just living like
I'm living today, I'm feeling the thrill of life, and I'm not afraid,
Josh Souza was the runner-up of Big Brother 1. Souza appeared on an
episode of the show Blind Date and co-produced the film The Scorned,
written and co-produced by fellow reality star Rob Cesternino (Survivor:
The Amazon, Survivor: All Stars) with an all-reality-star cast.
Karen Fowler, divorcee, was a contestant on Big Brother 1. She was most
remembered for asking to divorce her husband on national television. She
had also asked the television audience to vote for her to leave the Big
Brother house since she missed her kids. Karen was marked for banishment
in Week 6, and was banished on Day 43. Brittany revealed that Karen had
moved to Los Angeles and settled there with her family.
William Collins is a politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who
stood unsuccessfully for Philadelphia City Council. William was the 1st
person banished in the history of Big Brother USA. He was known for being
banished after he called out fellow houseguest Brittany Petros on her
supposedly racist ways. In the season finale, he was also critical of the
show saying that without him, Big Brother was "Big Boring". The
episode where he got banished it was revealed that he was a Black Panther.
- Brittany, Cassandra, Curtis, Eddie, George, Jaime, Jordan,
Josh, Karen, and William entered the House on Day 1.
- The first weekly task was for HouseGuests to build a clock
powered by potatoes or go without knowing time in the house.
- Their food task was to solve a word puzzle and dig 1-foot
left of lemon tree for $100 worth of food.
- In Week 2, the HouseGuests study names for a week and decide
if they are dead or alive. They are allowed 3 misses. The
HouseGuests fail the challenge.
William was banished on Day 16.
- The third weekly task was for HouseGuests to imitate another
- Their second task was to sit and paint someone on the
bicycle to capture the week long food challenge on canvas
- The food task had the HouseGuests ride stationery bicycle
for a combined total of 1000 miles.
- In Week 4, the HouseGuests had to put the issue of flag
burning on trial (each HouseGuest is assigned a different role
of the court).
- The second weekly task had the HouseGuests divide in three
teams: blue (Eddie, George, Cassandra), white (Karen, Jordan,
Brittany) and yellow (Curtis, Josh, Jamie). HouseGuests had to
toss water balloons across the pool to each other. The blue
- The weekly food task had the HouseGuests set up 12,100
dominoes to fall when BB gives signal making a picture of the
Big Brother logo.
Jordan was banished on Day 29.
- In Week 5, the HouseGuests host a roast for Curtis and
Jordan who are up for banishment.
- The food task had six HouseGuests jump rope together 10
times. The rope turners have to recite a poem written by the
HouseGuests while they jump.
- In Week 6, the HouseGuests had to create a daytime talk show
Jerry Springer style.
- For the live challenge the HouseGuests had to pick who would
receive a 60 second phone call. George was selected to make
- HouseGuests have to bake 8 blueberry pies and 8 raspberry
pies to get ready. The Blueberries (Eddie, George, Cassandra,
Brittany) vs. Raspberries (Curtis, Josh, Jamie, Karen) had to
eat 8 pies. Raspberries win and get to choose how the food
allowance gets spent.
Karen was banished on Day 43.
- In Week 7's task, the HouseGuests play water basketball.
- For the second task, the HouseGuests roast nominees
Cassandra, Josh, and Karen.
- For the third task, The HouseGuests have 3 minutes to decide
to watch the nominations or not. If they watch, they get a
prize. HouseGuests decide not to watch, and never find out
what the prize is.
- For the fourth task, HouseGuests stand in front of seated
HouseGuest and be brutally honest about what they don't like
about them. This is followed about what they like about them.
- For the fifth task, HouseGuests memorize all major highways.
They have to tell which interstates to take to get from one
city to another.
- In Week 8, the HouseGuests paint each other like animals.
- In the second task had the HouseGuests compete in a sumo
wrestling match for a prize.
- In the third task, HouseGuests have to match quotes with
HouseGuests. Last one standing wins a special prize on the
live show. Jaime wins the challenge.
- In the fourth task, HouseGuests had to build their own set
of "babies" and then take turns crawling through the
mud with the baby. They couldn't let the baby touch the mud.
- For the food task, from Sunday to Friday, two HouseGuests
must be dancing non stop with part of the body touching. When
cued (no matter what time of day or night) ALL HouseGuests
have 30 seconds to get up and dance.
Brittany was banished on Day 57.
- HouseGuests compete for the title of Mr. Big Brother 2000
(won by Eddie) and Miss Big Brother 2000 (tied by Cassandra
and Brittany). They get a fancy dinner with meals of their
- HouseGuests have to fill out a questionnaire revealing
opinions of each other (most loyal, funniest, most two faced,
etc.). They divide into two teams with Brittany as host and
the game ends in a tie.
- For the live challenge, Jamie gets a chance to cohost with
Julie and does 3 tasks: Interview the HouseGuest who Jamie
chooses as having the hardest time being nominated (George),
introduce a video segment, and announce the banished
- In the food challenge, the HouseGuests build a puzzle with
4928 pieces by Friday. The result wasn't shown on following
- Discuss whether they would be willing to split the 1st, 2nd,
and 3rd place prize money.
- In part one of the live challenge, the HouseGuests are
offered $20,000 to leave (only one can accept) and don't know
a new HouseGuest named Beth will enter the house. They turn it
down. They are then offered an additional $30,000 (total
$50,000) to leave and turn it down again. Beth doesn't get to
enter the house. She was told that she would only win $140,000
if she were to enter the house and win.
- In part two, Brittany visits and HouseGuests must decide
which HouseGuest gets to talk to her.
- In the third task, HouseGuests name price of item another
HouseGuest wants and must come within $1 for that HouseGuest
to get it.
- For the food task, the HouseGuests train Chiquita to go
through an obstacle course. They complete the challenge
Cassandra was banished on Day 71.
- In a luxury competition, HouseGuests told to search the
house and find a ticket to go to the Emmy Awards. Curtis finds
the ticket hanging on the wall in the Red Room.
- In the live challenge, the HouseGuests write a message to be
sent over to the banner flyer guy, made, and flown over the
house by the end of the show.
- Each HouseGuest has a chance to call home from the red room
with following rules: 5 minutes total time and the clock
- In the food competition, the HouseGuests had to juggle
George was banished on Day 78.
- In Week 12, the HouseGuests write lyrics to the Big
Brother theme song.
- The second task had the HouseGuests looking for Chiquita
inside the house. The one who finds her gets to announce the
weather on the local TVchannel.
- During the live challenge, HouseGuests had to decide which
banished HouseGuest they want to come back into the house.
After watching clips from each, they pick Cassandra.
- The third task was to play the Big Brother Board
- For the food task, HouseGuests had to guess if statements
were in the news or not.
Jaime was banished on Day 85 and Curtis, Eddie, and Josh became
the final three.
- HouseGuests draw cards and Josh becomes the saboteur to
"manipulate some aspect of life in the house".
- In the last task, the final 3 HouseGuests have 30 seconds to
go to the red room and tell who they think should win and why.
- On Day 88, Eddie McGee was announced as the winner of Big
- Josh left the house on Day 88 as the first runner-up, while
Curtis left the house as the second runner-up.