TV Q&A: Twists are planned on 'Big Brother'

  • Article by: ROB OWEN , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Updated: October 13, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Julie Chen hosts “Big Brother,” one of the highest-rated reality shows.

Q: Does “Big Brother” have to submit a plan of the order of challenges and twists before the start of the season so that contestants can’t claim that CBS is pulling for characters to remain in the game?

A: According to a CBS spokesman, “We determine each season’s twists before the game begins, and the producers do have an overall plan for how the challenges and twists will play out throughout the summer.”

Before I got a response from CBS, I asked Reality Blurred editor Andy Dehnart and enjoyed his response with regards to “Survivor.”

“I honestly don’t know much about ‘Big Brother’s’ challenges,” he said. “I do know that, with ‘Survivor,’ producers start planning challenges long before they arrive on location, and they’re planned out on the calendar for the season. However, they also sometimes have to swap out challenges because of something like weather, which means they do have the ability to change at the last minute. That said, ‘Survivor’ had a standards-and-practices person on location at every challenge to ensure fairness.

“By the way, ‘Big Brother’ lazily reuses challenges — just redressing them, really — and follows such a predictable schedule that the cast often knows that twists or challenges are forthcoming just because they know when those challenges or twists tend to fall on the schedule.”

Laughter works in different ways

Q: Kudos to shows such as “The Middle” and “The Neighbors,” which have eliminated the annoying canned laughter. Why can’t all TV shows adopt this policy?

A: I’m not as offended by hearing the laughs of the studio audience as some folks are. Yes, single-camera comedies without the laughs are considered more sophisticated, but is there anything wrong with the laughs we hear in great shows such as “I Love Lucy” or “The Big Bang Theory”? I like the mix of comedy formats that exists.

‘Unforgettable’ refuses to go

Q: Is it safe to say that “Unforgettable” will be forgotten after its surprising summer renewal?

A: CBS ordered 13 episodes and only seven aired over the summer, leaving six in reserve to air at some point during the 2013-14 TV season or possibly next summer. CBS also ordered a third season of the show for next summer, so there will definitely be more to come.

A long time to get there

Q: What do the contestants on Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” do in between selling weekends?

A: According to a Food Network publicist, between selling days, the teams are traveling to their next destination.

Send TV questions (with name and city/state) to tvqanda@gmail.com.

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