Based on a Dutch show of the same name, the UK version of the Big Brother franchise began back in 2001. Although the original series was a success, a spin-off, Celebrity Big Brother, was created to help aid the Comic Relief charity. However, the series turned out to be more popular than expected and a permanent version was introduced to audiences starting in 2002.
Over the years, the show has created some of the most controversial and eye-0raising moments on British reality tv. Though created to spotlight British celebrities, the series opened its door to include international TV personalities and reality stars. In 2018, the US will premiere its own version of Celebrity Big Brother. hoping to duplicate the success of the UK version.
As with any notorious reality program, there are certain secrets and little-known facts that producers would rather you not know about. Although much of the series’ troubles have been heavily publicized, there still lie a few dark truths that few fans are aware of. Even the upcoming US version of Celebrity Big Brother already has some dark secrets in its past and its current production. There is no doubt that the Celebrity Big Brother brand brings a strange dynamic of controversial tv that viewers can’t seem to get enough of.
Here are 16 Dark Secrets From Celebrity Big Brother You Had No Idea About.
16 Ray J Is Suing the show
Singer Ray J has had his share of tabloid moments in the US market but managed also to make waves in the UK as well. Known infamously for his scandalous relationship with Kim Kardashian, Ray J banked on his notoriety and joined the cast of Celebrity Big Brother 19 this year. However, his time on the show was cut short when he experienced a medical issue that producers reportedly ignored at first.
Ray J was allegedly pleading for medical assistance, but producers delayed taking him to the hospital until he passed out due to medication. Producers decided to remove him from the show and not pay him the full $1 million promised for his appearance. His legal team cited a breach on contract and are currently suing for his remaining payment.
15 Tila Tequila Was Ejected For Being A Nazi Sympathizer
Social media personality and former MTV star Tila Tequila decided to expand her international branding by joining the cast of Celebrity Big Brother: UK vs USA in 2015. Known for her outlandish personality, antics, and various MTV programs, Tequila was selected to join Series 16 to bring more excitement to the show. However, those same unpredictable actions caused her to be kicked off the show by Day 2.
Tequila had published a blog entitled “Why I Sympathize with Hitler Part 1: True History Unveiled," in which she called the deceased dictator a "good man" and "man of compassion," In 2013, Celebrity Big Brother was unaware of this controversial blog when they hired her for the show. Once producers became aware of it, she was asked to leave to show, with a formal statement distancing the show from her actions and views.
14 Baywatch star Ejected And Charged with Assault
Among the short list of Celebrity Big Brother contestants who have been ejected is former Baywatch star Jeremy Jackson. Already known as both a singer and reality star on the VH1 program Confessions of a Teen Idol, he was added to the Series 15 cast in 2015.
Though he has been focused on getting back into the public eye, Jackson's actions on the show brought him the wrong kind of notoriety. While vomiting after drinking too much one night at the house, housemate Chloe Goodman helped him in the bathroom. Jackson then opened her robe and exposed her chest without her consent.
Distraught after the incident, Goodman shared her story with both producers and castmates. Jackson was eventually ejected from the show by Day 4. British authorities took his actions very seriously, and he was brought up on charges for the incident, resulting in a police caution for common assault.
13 David Bowie Death Mixup
In early January 2016, the musical world was heartbroken at the untimely death of English musical icon David Bowie. Fans around the globe mourned the loss of the musician and celebrities paid tribute to his legacy everywhere.
During the time of his death, however, the cast of Celebrity Big Brother 17 - which included Bowie’s ex-wife, Angie - were none the wiser. Producers pulled her into the Diary Room to break the heartbreaking news to her and gave her the option to leave the house to mourn. Unfortunately, when she shared this news with former VH1 reality star Tiffany “New York” Pollard, she assumed the “David” that had passed away was their current housemate David Gest. Pollard then shared this news in a panic and caused a major uproar among the houseguests. To the distaste of many viewers, producers kept this footage in the show’s episode to help boost ratings.
12 Record for the Highest Number of Complaints on British TV
Known for pushing the boundaries of reality TV, Celebrity Big Brother has been fraught with numerous controversial moments over the years. However, audiences continue to tune in to the program because, in the end, it was entertaining.
Following the airing of Series 5, though, viewers were no longer amused by the antics of the housemates. This series included the infamous barrage of racist remarks and acts of bullying by Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara toward Shilpa Shetty. Viewers expressed their displeasure for the show my logging complaints with the Office of Communications (or Ofcom).
Additional series have also been hit with complaints as well, to the point that Celebrity Big Brother reportedly has over 50, 000 complaints logged against it with Ofcom.
11 The show's been canceled and suspended multiple times
Following the airing of one of its most controversial series of its history, Celebrity Big Brother was under heavy scrutiny by British television authorities. Its broadcaster, Channel 4, was held responsible for the actions of the contestants and was cited for violating Ofcom’s code of conduct.
The ramifications of Celebrity Big Brother 5 had extended well beyond the United Kingdom. The series was met with worldwide backlash, including from India, the home country of contestant Shilpa Shetty. As a result, the sixth series was canceled in 2008. The show then returned for two more series, until Channel 4 announced that Series 7 would bring an end to the controversial reality program.
After Channel 4 ended the program, it was resurrected (again) in 2011 and moved to Channel 5, where it currently airs today.
10 Sponsors don't want to be associated with the show
As one of the more popular shows viewed worldwide, the fallout from Series 5 was felt for some time to come. The racism and bullying angered had not only angered fans around the world, but corporate sponsors and backers as well. Hoping to distance themselves from the now tarnished reputation of the show, many companies pulled their support of the show.
Carphone Warehouse, the primary sponsor of Celebrity Big Brother 5, ended their sponsorship midway through the series. The company issued a statement that said: “We are totally against all forms of racism and bullying and indeed this behavior is entirely at odds with the brand values of the Carphone Warehouse.” In addition, Jade Goody, one of the houseguests at the center of the questionable behavior, took a hit as well as some retailers refused to carry her perfume line anymore.
9 Four Past Contestants have Died
Despite the arguing, backstabbing, and fights, some housemates of the show have grown to care for one another and forge lasting friendships genuinely. Through its numerous series, audiences have also become fond of certain contestants and have even continued their support for them beyond the walls of the Big Brother house. With such bonds formed both onscreen and off, it comes as no surprise that the death of a past contestant can be a harrowing experience.
Over the course of its airings, there have been four houseguests that have passed away after their respective series. Viewers and former contestants have mourned the passing of houseguests Jade Goody (died in 2009), Ken Russell (died in 2011), David Gest, and Pete Burns (both died in 2016).
8 Four Guests have been Ejected and 13 have Walked Out
As is standard in the Big Brother TV series everywhere, contestants are voted off the show by their housemates each week. However, there have been several instances on Celebrity Big Brother that have called for a contestant to either be removed from the show or decide to leave themselves.
In 20 series of the show, four guests have actually been evicted due to their actions. In fact, Series 15 saw two contestants, English actor/comedian Ken Morley and American actor Jeremy Jackson, booted off within the first seven days in the house. Also, 13 other contestants have left the show over the years. Although some instances were tied to their personal issues with the other contestants, several of the early departures were due to medical and familial concerns.
7 A Crew Member Was Spotted With Cue Cards On Set
While many reality shows try to brag about being genuine and showing the truth of its content, viewers have been aware that many shows are the exact opposite. The “reality” of these shows is that many moments are edited or manipulated in a way to drive viewers’ interest and boost overall ratings. In fact, reality shows have even contained scripted moments that producers have used to manipulate the overall story of a show.
There have been incidences like this on Celebrity Big Brother as well. Viewers spotted a crew member in the background of a “Bits on the Side” segment in 2014. The crewmember was also holding up cue cards to assist the contestants with their lines in a sketch. Producers denied the incident, stating their crew never directly making contact with the guests. “Reality” TV at its finest…
6 Gary Busey is the only American Contestant To Ever Win
As a spinoff of the original series Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother was intended as a one-time special focused on British celebrities from various facets of the entertainment world. As the show gained viewership and popularity, showrunners decided to expand the casting by increasing the number of houseguests and including well-known international celebrities as well.
Series 3 included some of the first American houseguests including Jackie Stallone (famous astrologer and mother to Sylvester Stallone) and model Caprice Bourret. American personalities and celebrities have been included in the cast ever since, but despite their inclusion, none of them were ever fortunate enough to win the show.
It took ten series for the first (and so far, only) American houseguest to win the show, with actor Gary Busey being victorious in 2014.
5 Scott Timlin's Castmates Lied to Their fans to Help Him Win Series 17
Following in the successful footsteps of the over-the-top reality show Jersey Shore, MTV created a British version called Geordie Shore. This version of the show has become highly popular with its viewers and led to the inclusion of two of its stars on Celebrity Big Brother: Charlotte Crosby and Scott Timlin. Both reality stars won their respective series on Celebrity Big Brother as well, however, Timlin’s win was steeped in controversy and possible cheating.
To encourage viewers to vote for Timlin, his Geordie Shore castmates regularly posted on social media with his voting number. However, their tweets did not directly state this was a number for him and misled their viewers into thinking it was related to Geordie Shore instead. Viewers were outraged at the deception. Once the truth was revealed, Timlin had already become the winner of Celebrity Big Brother 17.
4 Plans for the US Verison Almost Began in 2002
The rising success of the Celebrity Big Brother series in the UK inspired US producers to follow in their footsteps. Plans to air a US version of the series have been announced this year, with the series to begin airing on February 7, 2018. Though no guests have been announced yet, American audiences are looking forward to seeing how things will play out with C-list TV and music personalities.
The US version was actually up for discussion many years prior. In fact, plans had been floating around for the celebrity-themed version since the airing of Big Brother 2 back in 2001. Considering reality TV was at its peak during this timeframe, CBS really missed out on a way to bank on the revitalized trend. Despite taking 17 years to come to fruition, viewers will finally get the celebrity show they have been looking for next year.
3 Surprising Celebrities Considered For The 2002 American Verison
Back in the early stages of planning for the US version of Celebrity Big Brother, producers searched for celebrities who would create controversial, yet unforgettable moments on the show. According to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, long-time Big Brother host Julie Chen revealed some of the surprising personalities that were being considered. Chen shared the story that “Paris Hilton agreed to do it and Roseanne Barr also said she was going to and then she backed out.” Can you imagine the outspoken Barr and reality queen Hilton going head to head in the same household?
In addition, The New York Post reported that shock jock Howard Stern was being considered for the role citing her wanted his nemesis at the time, Kathie Lee Gifford, also to join “just so he can "torture her." Since plans for the show never came together, viewers were spared the possibility of this sparring match.
2 Julie Chen Was Forced to Take a Pay Cut for the Celebrity Edition to Happen
Each season of Big Brother brings with it a new cast and modified home for its contestants. Even the show’s eliminations process and challenges have gone through many modifications over the years. However, the one constant fixture for the show has been host Julie Chen.
Starting back in 2000 with the inaugural season, Chen has guided audiences through the houseguests’ activities, evictions, and post-show interviews. With Celebrity Big Brother being added to the franchise, it’s no surprise that Chen will also take on the hosting duties for this show as well. However, Chen has revealed that to do so, she had to accept some interesting terms of her contract - including a pay cut, mandated by her husband Leslie Moonves, who is also the head of CBS.
1 The US Verison will be half as long
Few details have been revealed so far for the US version of Celebrity Big Brother. Though we do not have a list of houseguests as of yet, we can tell from the basic details of the show that it will vary significantly from its predecessor. Although a regular season of Big Brother contained, on average, 40 episodes, the spin-off series will only include 13.
This factor also adds more context to why Chen’s salary was reduced: fewer shows recorded, less pay need. However, this condensed version will include many of the same features including the 24/7 uncensored live feed. Executive producer Rich Meehan shared with The Hollywood Reporter that “We're going to keep what makes the show work including the HoH and Veto [competitions] and the live evictions. The challenge will be turning it into an event that feels special for the winter.”
Are you excited for the US version of Celebrity Big Brother? Share your thoughts in the comments!