As we enter another season of summer TV staple “Big Brother,” with 16 more houseguests battling it out for a chance to win $500,000, let’s take a leap to the season finale in September so we can avoid the usual moaning and groaning. Each edition of “Big Brother” begins with much optimism and potential. Yet, it always falls short at the end with a jam-packed season finale that leaves little room for those involved: the remaining competing houseguests and the jurors questioning them.
The general consensus from fans was that its 20th season in 2018 was among the series’ best editions of recent memory. Nonetheless, that season’s finale was also supremely rushed to the point where the final two players in the game — Kaycee Clark and Tyler Crispen — were ordered by host Julie Chen Moonves to hurry up their statements to the jury. (It’s only $500,000 at stake. No pressure!)
So, what can “Big Brother” do to ensure better conclusions? Here are some suggestions how:
Get rid of the clips show. The penultimate episode of the season reviews the moments and events that took place throughout the summer, including some scenes never before seen on TV. Yet, this hour is the most-overlooked and unnecessary episode of the season. Besides, most viewers are more interested in what the final Head of Household competition is and what resulted. A more effective way to do a “Big Brother” retrospective would be during the reunion portion of the finale with the entire cast reacting to the memorable clips.
Go from three to two prior to finale night. “Big Brother” didn’t always enter its season finale with the Final Three. Up until 2009, the Final Two was already determined going in. Perhaps the switch in 2009 was made to enliven the live house feeds leading up to season’s end, but the effect has since been negligible. The final week has rarely consisted of intense game talk and, for feed watchers, the results have been anti-climactic. Instead of a season-ending clips show (as mentioned before), that final Sunday can feature all three parts of the final Head of Household competition, concluding with the season’s final evicted houseguest.
Final “Big Brother After Dark” should feature Jury Roundtable. One of the show’s most anticipated segments is when Season 2 winner Dr. Will Kirby hosts the game discussion with the season’s jurors. Wouldn’t it be even more insightful if that discussion, edited and shown for only 5-10 minutes in each of the recent season finales, were released in their entirety? This would be a must-watch for “Big Brother” fans. A perfect spot to air it is during Pop TV’s late-night “Big Brother After Dark” slot on the night prior to the season finale. There should be minimal concerns that we’d be missing what’s going on (that is, nothing happening) in the house by then. If Dr. Will is unavailable or the producers wish to seek an alternative, how about giving us another memorable past houseguest to host this segment. The sassy and outspoken Da’Vonne Rogers, perhaps?
Time to give “Big Brother” a 3-hour prime time window. Since it launched in 2000, the network’s flagship reality competition “Survivor” has ALWAYS ended its cycles with a 2+ hour finale followed by a live reunion. “Big Brother” has been on the same network for just as long (in terms of years) and has consistently attracted young audiences to the normally older-skewing CBS throughout its run. It’s about time it gets its due, where there would be more time for the final two to talk to the jury, more questions that can be asked by the jurors and the pre-jury cast can further elaborate on what transpired this season. This year, there would even be high incentive to air its entire finale on one night: CBS gets the late Sunday afternoon slate of NFL games on Sept. 22 — an ensured boost to its prime time that night.
In 2018, the highest-rated, most-watched episode of “Big Brother 20” wasn’t the premiere nor its finale; it was the Sunday, Sept. 16 edition. With all due respect to its guest star, pop singer Bebe Rexha and her fans that tuned in to watch that night, that audience figure was most helped by the NFL games that had aired in the late afternoon slot on CBS.
Or, just focus on the Final Two, jury Q&A and reunion. CBS has already scheduled the “Big Brother 21” finale and reunion in a 90-minute window following the 90-minute “Survivor” season premiere on Sep. 25. As consolation, the network can air the Head of Household competition and subsequent eviction for just one hour on the Sept. 22 night. On the day of the finale, the Final Two’s communication with the jury should last no shorter than one hour and thus be pre-recorded, a la “Survivor” Final Tribal Council. The game lasts near 100 days; more than ever, the final two houseguests DESERVE more than the mere 10-15 minutes allotted annually to make their case to the jury. And if there ever were a reunion discussion to take place, last season’s SHOULD HAVE been it with Rachel Swindler confronting Angela Rummans for the first time since Angela’s cold-hearted goodbye message to her, and any commentary from the eccentric Kaitlyn Herman — one of the main reasons the first half of the 20th season was so lively — and from Brett Robinson, who was almost always at the center of the season’s drama.