Big Brother” season 23 is upon us, and longtime fans of the reality competition are set to enjoy the latest showmances and tense gameplay moments. Whether you’ve been following the “HouseGuests” since the beginning or have only heard other people telling wild stories about the “Big Brother” house, we’ve got everything you need to know about the CBS hit TV show that features host Julie Chen.

“Big Brother”: The Basics

“Big Brother” is a reality TV series that aired for the first time on the CBS network in July 2000. Since then, its format has been to place a group of HouseGuests who don’t know one another into a home constructed to separate them from the outside world. The “Big Brother” house is set up with cameras that provide live feeds of the HouseGuests, and they each wear microphones that catch every conversation. Each week, HouseGuests vote on who should face eviction based on all sorts of inside strategies, personal politics, and interpersonal relationships. 

Related: Guide to “Big Brother” in 2021

During weekly competitions, a Head of Household (HOH) is established, and this contestant enjoys a position of extreme influence and veto power. “Big Brother” is hosted by Julie Chen Moonves. Like other popular reality TV programs, such as “Survivor” and “Love Island,” “Big Brother” offers a cash prize to the final contestant standing after 10 weeks.


Hopeful contestants of “Big Brother” come from all walks of life. They submit applications and must pass through screenings that evaluate important factors to their success on the show, such as health, schedule, and overall personality. If they pass initial screenings, potential HouseGuests travel to Los Angeles for the formal audition. Between 12 and 16 new HouseGuests are selected for each season.

New HouseGuests meet each other for the first time when they arrive at the “Big Brother” house. At that point, all contact with the outside world becomes off-limits. Following the first week’s gameplay competition, the first Head of Household is established, and that person is free from the threat of eviction for that week. Despite getting special privileges, such as a private bedroom, the HOH bears the responsibility of nominating two HouseGuests for eviction and supplying a replacement nominee if the Power of Veto (POV) is utilized. Veto power is earned in a weekly veto competition and is a highly coveted aspect of the “Big Brother” game.

The Confession Room, or Diary Room, within the “Big Brother” house is a place where contestants can go to air their thoughts and feelings about what’s going on inside the house directly to the camera. These segments provide insights into the point of view of even the most introverted of HouseGuests. Through the Diary Room entries, fans come to learn the hidden agendas and strategies building among the “Big Brother” castmates.

Each week, a recap of the previous week’s winners and evictions is provided. “Big Brother” has become such a phenomenon in the reality TV world that spoilers for the show are everywhere online, as “Big Brother” fans often can’t wait to discuss the show on live forums of their own. The Grand Prize awarded to the last HouseGuest remaining after the 10-week series is $500,000. 

“Big Brother” Host and Other Show Personalities

Over the course of its many seasons, “Big Brother” has launched the careers of several big personalities associated with the show. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the major players and popular people from the reality show over the years.


  • Julie Chen Moonves: Julie Chen is an American television producer and news anchor. Prior to her position at “Big Brother,” she turned an internship at “CBS This Morning” with Andy Cohen into an anchor position. Chen has also done production work for ABC NewsOne, co-hosted “The Early Show” on CBS, and served as a reporter and weekend anchor at WCBS-TV. Having helmed the American rendition of “Big Brother” since its inception in 2000, she’s now the longest-running host of the show in any country’s version.

Other key “Big Brother” personalities include:

  • Alyssa Lopez: A “Big Brother” season 23 newbie, Alyssa Lopez is a swimwear designer from Sarasota, Florida.
  • Da’Vonne Rogers: Vonne Rogers, as she’s known to “Big Brother” fans, is a show alum who was featured on three separate seasons of the reality show. Known for her big personality and willingness to confront household rumors, she has become a fan favorite.
  • Cody Calafiore: After being runner-up on “Big Brother” 16, Cody Calafiore won “Big Brother: All-Stars” in 2020. Cody’s partnership with Derrick Levasseur, called “The Hitmen,” made him a popular star during his first stint on the TV series.
  • Nicole Franzel: Starring in “Big Brother” seasons 16, 18, and 22, Nicole Franzel is a bubbly personality who became the first female contestant to defeat a male contestant in the Final Two portion of the competition. She has also competed in “The Amazing Race” season 31.
  • Brandon “Frenchie” French: With his tragic backstory of a son gone too early, Frenchie has stolen hearts on “Big Brother” season 23. A farmer from Camden, Tenn., his affable demeanor and positive outlook set him apart.
  • Kyland Young: A movie buff and account executive from San Bernardino, California, Kyland Young made his “Big Brother” debut on season 23.
  • Azah Awasum: Hailing from Baltimore, M.D., Azah is a sales director who loves cooking. She has already won attention for proclaiming her intention for “no showmances” in “Big Brother” 23.
  • Travis Long: Although he was the first eviction of the current “Big Brother” season, Travis Long of Austin, Texas, has left an impression for his vocal calling-out of the supposed two-facedness of season 23 fan favorite, Frenchie, whom Long believed to be his best friend in the house before his eviction.

Where to Stream Big Brother

 The entirety of the “Big Brother” series can be streamed on Paramount+, Pluto TV, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, and Vudu.

“Big Brother”: A Breakdown of the Show’s Seasons

With 792 episodes and counting, “Big Brother” is one of the longest-running reality TV programs on the market. Viewers new to the show may wish to brush up a bit on the show’s history for greater understanding and enjoyment of the new seasons. Below, you’ll find a brief recap of collected “Big Brother” eras.

Seasons One Through Six

On the very first season of “Big Brother,” American viewers elected the winner by public vote. This method of voting wouldn’t be used again until the spin-off series “Big Brother: Over the Top” in 2016. By season two, the concept of a jury composed of former HouseGuests was introduced, and this jury was responsible for voting on the show’s winner. Season three saw the introduction of the Veto Twist, allowing HouseGuests to save themselves from the eviction block. In season four, the X-Factor Twist came along. This twist brought in the former lovers of five HouseGuests; these former lovers then competed against their HouseGuest exes in the house. Season five was all about sibling revelations, featuring not just the Project DNA Twist, wherein a pair of identical twins routinely switched back and forth while in the “Big Brother” house, but also the surprise of a pair of HouseGuests finding out they were actually siblings while competing on the show. Known as the “Summer of Secrets” season, season six allowed each HouseGuest to play with a secret partner.

Seasons Seven Through 10

Season seven was special for being the first time “Big Brother” brought back former HouseGuests to compete in an all-star round. Season eight brought a unique energy for its inclusion of three pairs of staunch enemies who entered the house at the same time. Season nine was unusual for several reasons, the first being that it aired during the winter rather than summer due to the ongoing writer’s strike in Hollywood. The second reason was that it was the first time HouseGuests competed entirely as couples. They were nominated and evicted as couples rather than individuals. Season 10 was advertised as the “back to basics” season and included no major changes.

Seasons 11 Through 16

Season 11 introduced the Cliques Twist, wherein HouseGuests were split into four teams that were expected to work against one another. Season 12 brought the dynamic Saboteur Twist, a HouseGuest whose sole purpose in being included was to wreak havoc in the house and cause issues for the other players. The saboteur was not competing for the Grand Prize. Season 13 saw the inclusion of the Dynamic Duos Twist, wherein three former duos who had competed on the reality show previously entered the house again to play against eight new HouseGuests. In Season 14, four former HouseGuests came back into the house in the role of coaches. Season 15 brought in the “Big Brother MVP” vote that allowed American viewers to select a player each week who would then be eligible to nominate a third evictee. Season 16 was rightly presented as “the most twisted summer ever,” as it included the never-before-seen Battle of the Block competition, the audience-voted Team America alliance, the Big Brother Rewind concept — where the game is set back one full week — and the weekly nomination of four HouseGuests for eviction.

Seasons 17 Through 20

The Takeover Twist debuted in season 17, as well as the Twin Twist, wherein sisters Liz and Julia Nolan swapped places in and out of the house for the beginning half of the game. Season 18 pitted veteran players against new players and allowed America to send care packages to the HouseGuests for the first time ever. Season 19 was famous for its Temptation Twist featuring the previous season’s runner-up playing against a house full of newbies. In season 20, viewers enjoyed the Hacker Comp, where a winner could take control of the game, as well as a Social Media/Technology Twist. 

Seasons 21 Through 23

Season 21 introduced the Camp Twist, wherein fan-favorite Jackson Michie won the “Big Brother” Camp Director title and went on to rack up more comps than any “Big Brother” player in the show’s history. Season 22 was an All-Stars season that featured the return of 16 fan favorites from bygone seasons and only the second time in “Big Brother” history that a player won the competition by unanimous vote. The current season, 23, features a significant increase in the prize money, bumping the original Grand Prize from $500,000 up to $750,000. 

“Big Brother FAQs”

With so many seasons and so much history, new viewers and avid fans alike are bound to have questions about “Big Brother.” Read on for answers to some of the more commonly asked questions associated with the hit reality TV show.

When Do New Seasons of “Big Brother” Usually Start?

With the exception of season nine, which was filmed in the winter due to the Hollywood writer’s strike, “Big Brother” is a summertime show that tends to air its first season episodes within the first week of July. Seasons last 10 weeks, and viewers enjoy three weekly episodes on CBS throughout the duration of any “Big Brother” season.

What Reality Show Did Celebrity “Big Brother” Couple Heidi and Spencer Come From?

Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt originally gained fame on MTV’s reality series “The Hills.” 

How Do People Win the “Big Brother” Show?

At its root, “Big Brother” is a competition won by social strategy. Not only do players have to focus on winning the weekly competitions, but they must also form valuable alliances within the household to keep themselves from getting evicted. When the show is down to the Final Two players, a Jury composed of the previously evicted HouseGuests votes for the ultimate winner.

When Was the First Episode of “Big Brother”?

The American version of “Big Brother” aired on the CBS network for the first time on July 5, 2000. The show is based on the Dutch reality show sharing the same name and created in 1997.

Why Is the Show Called “Big Brother”?

George Orwell’s famous novel “1984” gave the hit reality TV show its name. In the novel, “Big Brother” is the term used for the all-seeing eye of the oppressive government ruling the book’s dystopian landscape. 

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Heather Reinblatt

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV