Jun Dishes

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My Big Brother Finals Casting Experience

I’ve read one particular Andy Denhart article on Reality Blurred several times about the finals casting process, and I read it again today. Since I’m years beyond any contractual obligation to CBS I’m going to add to what is already a very accurate description of what really happened/happens, during finals casting. Finals casting happens a couple of week before the premiere, it’s like Reality Television Casting Olympics. And I was going for gold.

I won’t touch on all of Andy’s bullet points, but I will confirm that:

~ I was flown to L.A. where I stayed during the finals casting, on CBS’s dime plus the $50 per diem aka “allowance” we could use for meals or whatever. At the time I had plenty of money so I went through their $50 and spent some of my own on top of it every day at the gift shop and the bar and wherever I could hang out during my 45 minutes of free time. The rest of the time was very controlled or spent in my room.

~ For dinner, we had the option of eating in the restaurant or the hotel’s bar or just in our rooms. I ate at the restaurant once and I felt like a hooker with other hookers waiting for clients at tables, with our pimp PAs watching us to make sure none of the hookers talked to each other. So after that I just ate dinner in my room.

~ I did sit through “interviews” with all the executive producers, including Allison Grodner and Arnold Shapiro and other major BB decision-makers in the same room at all times. There were always cameramen and other assistants in the room during these interviews and everyone in the room could watch me on a television screen nearby. It’s weird all of a sudden being in front of bright lights and wearing a windy microphone with a bulky pack, but I loved it. These interviews were where they delved deeper into some of the questions you’d answered previously, eliminating people left and right if you didn’t give them that “something” they wanted.

~ I did not get to watch television, and as a matter of fact our televisions were removed from our rooms anyway, and we could get a DVD player and a movie or some video game. That was it. And we were not really allowed to “call people” unless it was an “emergency”.

~ I did get to go from interview to test to meals “by myself” aka without a PA, but I did have to “check-in” like a house-arrest inmate, by calling the production office when I got back to my room.

~ I DID look at another finalist during breakfast one day and she looked back at me, even though we’re instructed NOT to. Because SHIT, it’s unnatural and so at some point you end up making eye contact with somebody accidentally for just a fleeting moment.

~ I did notice numbers dwindling as some of the weirder girls left. I remember Dana had been at finals with me the longest while other women were cut.

~ I did meet with the show’s psychologist, and it was an easy conversation about me and I never felt like my head was shrinking the entire session.

~ I did meet with a “celebrity psychologist”, Alan Downs, and he asked me some questions and I remember he asked me specifically how “manipulative” I was. Apparently that was what he got from me, and so we chat about my skills in manipulation and why I would win Big Brother. Basically.

~ I did take a standardized IQ test and went through multiple personality assessments, and I remember sitting there with my Scantron sheet and No. 2 pencil in one of the banquet halls at the hotel…and I felt so goofy like I was in high school again.

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 12.14.28 PM

The psych evaluations were not FBI profiler-thorough, in reference to whether or not current Big Brother 15  houseguests would have been evaluated as “racist” or “misogynist” or “homophobe”. But I believe the personality assessments would provide information as to strengths and weakness and volatility of the potential houseguests, based on some of the questions on the tests. The evaluation isn’t diagnostic and more personality-focused than behavioral-focused, at least that was the case my year.

~ I did provide “bio samples” to the show’s doctors for a full medical, and I also had to get a full physical from my personal primary care physician. Big Brother wanted to know how healthy I was physically and mentally and sexually. Listen up people, you CAN go into the Big Brother house healthy and come out diseased, which is why I can’t understand why people have so much unprotected fluid swapping in there.

~ I did receive a schedule at the start of finals casting with blocks of time for meals and “Producers, Medical, Psych A, Psych B, Call Back, and Written Test” and scheduled free time. But “Scheduled free time” is an oxymoron isn’t it? The schedule ran with barely any hiccups and the production team was on top of their shit.

I could go on, but I can tell you that the finals casting process hasn’t changed much since my BB days. Everything I did during finals casting was documented and surveyed, and I saw just how focused the behind-the-scenes crew were and they really busted their asses to get a final cast nailed down. I say this because we give “production” so much shit all the time, yet it’s never the guy behind the camera or the gal running scheduling that get enough thank yous.

The summer I went through finals casting, I only had good things to say about everyone who worked in production. They’re good hardworking people. There’s so much unnecessary filth thrown at Allison Grodner and her crew, and over what. A summer reality show? Alleged rigging? These people at CBS are real people, and they’re the people who called to check on me after my season ended, and to ask about the condition of my father as he became frailer with each call, and they paid their respects from afar when my dad passed away the following year.

I say all this without having planned it. It just came out. That’s what she said…

And for the record, these people actually signed up for the show the real way without a casting agent:

TBT

And we all know the rest of the cast just happened to be some of our exes.

Thanks again, to Andy, for always putting it all out there.

Always dishing,

Jun

Posted under: Big Brother, Reality TV Dishes

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13 comments

  • As always Thank you for the inside scoop on BB. I will miss your 24/7 this year but you’ve got alot more on your plate than BB. Always luv ya.

  • I enjoyed this! Somehow I often forget about your BB experience and I love it when you spill the goods! Personally, I don’t think any of the BB15 cast could hold a candle to Wille Hantz in getting one over on the psych evals. For the most part I think this season is loaded with cowardly bullies. But Willie? Lets just say I wouldn’t want to run into him in a dark storage room. Thanks, Jun!

  • Jun, I really enjoy hearing about what it’s like to be a BB HouseGuest. One thing I’ve always wondered about is what diary room sessions are like. What’s on the other side of the camera? What kind of questions do you get asked? I would love it if you could talk about this sometime.

    • And how leading the questions are or what they ‘force’ or strongly suggest you say or repeat. It seems kind of obvious

  • I do think some of the complaints are legit. For one thing, the ongoing editing of contestants, this year once again the racial/homophobic/sexist comments, is unacceptable. This is supposedly a social experiment and diverse Houseguests are purposely cast. Yet, when we have these outbursts, they are edited out and CBS issues the same lame statement every year. Yet another CBS show, Survivor, routinely incorporates these situations into its plot and shows the effect on other contestants. This is important on a reality show that includes audience voting such as the end of season ‘favorite contestant’ which carries a $100K prize. But it is even more crucial this year when the viewers are voting on a weekly MVP that carries immense power and definitely will affect the games outcome. Why is this ok to air on Survivor but not BB?
    The other criticism that I think Grodner and Co deserve is the boring show that has the same exact challenges year after year. The game becomes so predictable that you see the HG already planning for challenges or figuring out which competition is coming next. We’ve already seen the get through the sticky stuff already just like we have the season before that and before that. We can only expect to see things like OTEV, waking up in the middle of the night, before/after, knock out, step up/down, finale challenge of random questions directed to the jury, another endurance challenge where contestants are slammed against some wall and then sprayed with water and other crap, rolling or throwing some ball to get points, and probably eating something not too tasty. And of course, near the end of the season we’ll get the ‘surprise’ double eliminations that contestants expect and the inevitable weeks of Pandora’s box which the HOH always goes for. And we probably will get some product placement with either a prize and/or movie trailer, and some former HG (please no more Jessie or Rachel) or a CBS show star, will make an appearance too. Have we missed anything? There’s no reason for Grodner & Co to show no originality and keep repeating the same challenges every season. Even Survivor which has been on for more seasons shake things up. We already also can surmise that the MVP and 3 nominees will only go on for the first third or so of the season.
    And lets please stop the stereotypical token effeminate gay. That would be plus too

  • Lynda Perky on July 6, 2013 at 12:49 am said:

    Reply

    Great insider information. I have always loved any behind the scene stuff. It is great to have someone who knows confirm production is very good. So many fans are like so many HGs in that they have to blame some of cheating or rigging things when the outcome does not go as THEY planned (their plan being the only possible outcome).

    It is a fact that CBS gets to set the rules and I often do not like them but it is not a conspiracy. As far as editing complainers all I KNOW is that the 24/7 Live Feeds will never ever fit into a show. Just a fact.

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