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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Allison Grodner on the Big Brother Casting Process

OK, as we wrote yesterday, it's now official: Big Brother 9 is a sure thing for winter, premiering February 12th. Thought you'd enjoy this interview of Allison Grodner we found over at tv guide. Especially those of you who'll be auditioning via the casting calls, or sending in your tapes.

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    TVGuide.com: This is awfully soon for you guys to be doing casting calls again....
    Allison Grodner: It's crazy, isn't it? It seems like we just ended [Season 8]! It's like, "Oh, wait a minute, it's not summer?" [Laughs]

    TVGuide.com: How much time do you usually have between casting and the new season?
    Grodner: For a summer season, we usually start up at the end of February. It's quite a big casting process, and it's also preparing the house, redoing the equipment [for the challenges]... there's no doubt that this is more of an accelerated process at this point.

    TVGuide.com: What do you look for in a Big Brother candidate?
    Grodner: We are always looking for interesting personalities. We're looking for a diverse group of people from different backgrounds, with different personalities and different points of view. It's always about the mix — you mix it up, you close the door and throw away the key, and see what happens. [Laughs] Every year it's a surprise. We're looking for people who can be themselves, who are un-self-conscious and can be honest. And that's pretty much it. Last summer was a really good example of that; there was such a range of people. It's people you would never find together in the real world. [Laughs]

    TVGuide.com: Are there certain "types" that you always want to include — like a controversial loud-mouth, a blonde bombshell, etc.?
    Grodner: [Laughs] We really don't. It's really about people whose personalities interest us and people we feel are very real. The last thing we want are people who will come to a casting session and give us what they think we want — we've now been doing this long enough that we can spot that miles away. Once you close that door, people become themselves, and we need to be able to see what you really are, because people are going to be watching you 24/7. We are looking for diversity of age and a diversity of looks — you know, you've got your pretty people, your very real-looking people. It's a bit of a potion — with Big Brother we throw them in, we stir it up a little, we add some spice, and then you simmer all summer long.
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    TVGuide.com: So what's involved in the open casting call?
    Grodner: People walk in, they give us their best two minutes or less on tape. If you're nowhere near, you can download an application and submit a tape [by mail]. Then we go through those tapes. Really it's the first 30 seconds, so make sure you get across your unique point of view then.

    TVGuide.com: Have you encountered any particularly wacky people auditions?
    Grodner: Oh, yeah, always. [Laughs] We've seen people who drop all their clothes. And we've seen some really creative things. When people go to that extra effort, we know they're not going to be dull to watch.

    TVGuide.com: Is there anything that's actually too outrageous?
    Grodner: For Big Brother? I don't know. [Laughs] Obviously there are the rules of the house. If anyone appears to be dangerous, we wouldn't want them.

    TVGuide.com: What gets a person really noticed in a casting call?
    Grodner: As long as it's not the same old thing. We're going to notice right off the bat if you're putting on an act for us: "I'm going to go in there and fight," the whole stereotypical reality part of it all. We've wised up over the years — we know when people are just putting on an act to get to the next level. Whatever you put on tape should be representative of what your friends and family see in you.

    TVGuide.com: What can you tell us about the interview process for some past fan favorites?
    Grodner: With Dr. Will [Kirby, who won Season 2], if I remember correctly, his tape was actually not that impressive. We thought, "This is a cute guy; he's a doctor." We liked the idea that this was someone from a white-collar background mixed in with everyone else. He came to our semifinals. Once we had an interview with him, we understood just how brilliant and charismatic he is. We were wowed by him. We knew he had potential, but we didn't know how much. And Dick [Donato, who won last season] diligently showed up at open calls for the past three years. Each year he made it further and further. Last year we had our [people-from-the-past] twist, and his daughter, Daniele, showed up to the open call as well, and they're not talking to each other... it just fell into our laps.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

didn't they already pick semi-finals for this season if you sent in a tape? at least thats what i heard...

2:49 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

they're still running quite the expensive campaign to get people to send tapes in, so while that's possible, it's doubtful.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Cliff O'Neill said...

I'm so debating wandering down the block to the casting call here this weekend. But, realistically, there is no way they'd pick me and my business would disappear overnight if I left for that long.

Oh, and sorry I missed you over Turkey Day, Carolyn!

3:21 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Cliff - go! take pictures! be a roving dish reporter. ;) hehehe. it'll be fun! and funny as hell, no doubt!

I'm sorry I missed you over thanksgiving too... crazy go nuts weekend for me.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous itybitymom3 said...

i wish the casting call were closer i go for sure. byt any hoo, we only have 2 months and 12 days bb starts. it will be here beofre we know it.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Beth & Eric said...

My husband said that he couldn't take care of the baby for that long by himself... and I could never win. But, Cliff. DO IT!

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Sara said...

I am going to the one in Boston this weekend. I can't do the show because I have kids, but I am trying to get my friend to do it. He is very "out of this world". He would make a very lasting first impression, and he is wicked sweet, to. We'll see!

I am looking foward to reading your page this season! You are the best!

11:02 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

thanks so much :)

12:05 PM  
Blogger indigoprince said...

Hey you wonderful BB bloggers. I didn't think that we were going to be starting the BB craze this early, but I am so ready. You guys are great and can't wait until it all begins again

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is it true dani & nick broke up? and he's leaving myspace..

8:56 AM  
Blogger JustBeechy said...

Ok since they are having a new season of BB in winter...will they still do the summer one this year?

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

I can't wait for BB9! I'm sick of the politics already! Seriously!

I need some mindless, silly, unrealistic big brother!!!

Survivor is almost over - aahhh! Maybe we'll get another survivor in place of the summer BB?

5:50 AM  
Blogger amber lee said...

In my newspaper this morning, word is Tony Westbrook of Benton, Ark., is one of the housemates for the upcoming Big Brother. I live in Arkansas so this is really exciting to me!! I hope he is more Dr. Will and less Wamber, heehee. It says he is 33 and is a paraprofessional at an assited-living facility. Hmmmmmmm.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Biskit said...

Ok, I am SOOOO ready for this BB...Celebrities or no, new twists...LETS GET THIS THING STARTED...I am PSYCHED! And Carolyn, we've missed ya! OH and the WEBKINZ ad....NICE...already have like 5 between my house and my brothers!

8:38 AM  
Blogger amber lee said...

Bah Humbug! Now the "newspaper" says the Arkansas guy was lying. A casting director says she's never heard of the guy and he won't be on the show. I guess the waiting resumes...

8:25 AM  
Blogger Fatty said...

The only thing I love as much as BB is this blog. Thank goodness you guys are here! Dont know if I can wait until February!!!

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Serena said...

Sweet!!! I'm so excited that they are going to do a winter edition! I'd totally go to casting calls if I didn't have kids, one of which who is sick. Maybe someday!

4:20 PM  

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