‘Big Brother: Over The Top’: Is This The Poor Man’s ’Big Brother’?

Big Brother: Over the Top is set to start streaming on CBS All Access, but will it get the buzz that the network version of Big Brother gets? Fan reaction for the show’s digital edition is mixed, as it turns out that not everyone is down with OTT. In addition, while the show’s promos tout “over the top” personalities, several aspects of the game have been scaled back for the online edition.

The Big Brother jackpot has been cut in half for Over the Top. While longtime Big Brother fans have long questioned why the show’s grand prize is only $500,000 (as opposed to Survivor’s $1 million jackpot), for Big Brother: Over the Top, the winner only gets $250,000, according to Entertainment Weekly.


Big Brother: Over the Top host Julie Chen previously told The Hollywood Reporter that a fall edition of the show would warrant an increase in the jackpot, but at the time she was talking about a network version, not an online version.

“If we ever get invited to the fall schedule we’d have to make it a million dollars,” Chen told THR in 2014. “But as long as it’s a summer reality show, on a summer reality show budget, it would have to stay at half a million dollars.”

Or less, it turns out.

Another cut? Big Brother: Over the Top will only play out for 10 weeks, as opposed to Big Brother 18’s supersized 99-day competition.

And another clue that Big Brother: Over the Top won’t be as over the top as the regular version of the show is the fact that producers have already admitted that the competitions will be downsized. In an interview with Zap 2 It, Big Brother executive producer Allison Grodner said the competitions will be on a smaller scale for the All Access version of the reality show.

“The competitions won’t be as big [but they] can possibly play out longer,” Grodner said.


Then there’s the cast. While Big Brother fans are used to twists — past seasons have included interchangeable identical twins, estranged relatives and even exes — this time there are two random sisters who plan to keep their relationship a secret. Based on their looks, that plan will probably last about a minute, though. ET Online describes Morgan and Alex Willett’s sisterhood as “the biggest twist” in the cast, but these Texas siblings look so much alike that it will be a surprise if the other Big Brother: Over the Top houseguests don’t pick up on it right away.

“We’re going to try to keep it a secret if possible,” Alex Willett told ET, while her sister added: “I don’t want to tell anybody. If they ask, I say deny.”


Also, the Big Brother: Over the Top cast doesn’t feature as many Big Brother superfans as usual. One player, Kryssie Ridolfi, 31, told ET that she’s “poor” and is just there for the money. But she hasn’t tuned in to Big Brother for about 16 years, which could put her at a serious disadvantage.

“If we’re being honest, I watched the first season when it first aired,” Ridolfi told THR. “I’m bad at watching TV shows if they’re just coming out right now. I need to be able to binge-watch something.”

Ditto for 27-year-old Justin Duncan, who admitted he’s not familiar with the past Big Brother winners.

“No, not really,” Duncan told THR when asked if he has a lot of knowledge about the Big Brother game. “This whole process, I’ve learned a lot more about the show. But I don’t watch TV that much. I’m out of the loop with a lot of stuff that’s happening.”

Another player, Shelby Stockton, 24, admitted that she’s doesn’t know much about the Big Brother game and didn’t even know it has been on the air for 18 seasons.

Speaking of the Big Brother: Over the Top cast, it should be noted that this season’s houseguests don’t cover much of a cross-section of the United States. Almost all of the contestants are in their 20s – there is the random 41-year-old who will likely be booted early – and the majority of them are from Southern states.

Fans will control much of the Big Brother: Over the Top game, but that means some of them will have to get used to the online format. Even host Julie Chen has admitted that Big Brother: Over the Top will take some getting used to for many viewers.

“I think people who are already All Access subscribers, they will love it,” Chen told TV Guide. “People who only like to watch the three episodes a week on the broadcast version because they like to watch what the network wants you to see or deems important, they will probably have some getting used to.”

Take a look at the video below to meet the Big Brother: Over the Top houseguests.

[Featured Image: CBS Big Brother Instagram]