Big Brother rarely includes contestants over the age of 40, and the current 21st season of the CBS reality show is hardly an exception. The long-running summertime show features 16 contestants competing for a $500,000 grand prize, and it is rare that any of the houseguests are born before the 1980s. Even if they do make it on the show, “older” houseguests are usually early targets for eviction.
But while it may seem as though there’s some age discrimination going on, Big Brother casting director, Robyn Kass, recently revealed why there are so few 40-somethings on the CBS summertime show. In a new interview on Big Brother Small World with JC Mounduix, Kass explained the process that takes place after Big Brother casting calls are hosted in major cities across the country. Kass said that, while critics feel producers look for specific “types” each season, that is not the case. The Big Brother boss said it is not as though producers are looking for “one person like this.”
Kass also revealed that getting “older” contestants to compete on the show is actually a big challenge. Kass made it clear that Big Brother producers don’t have anything against contestants in their 40s and older. Instead, she explained that the show does not get many applicants from people in that age range.
“The reason why we don’t get a ton of applicants, older applicants, is because they usually have jobs that they can’t leave for three months, families that they can’t leave… bills, kids, dogs, like, all these things and sometimes life won’t allow them three months.”
As longtime fans know, the Big Brother house is usually populated with contestants who don’t hold regular jobs.
“It’s difficult to get people like, with legitimate jobs because they, I know right now they’re saying, well ‘I would leave my job.’ But really? When you’re faced with it, to leave your job is a big deal.”
Indeed, Big Brother often features college students, fitness buffs and models. For Season 21, contestant Cliff Hogg is by far the oldest houseguest at age 53, while his housemates are all in their 20s and 30s. Hogg works as a petroleum engineer.
It is clear that Big Brother casting boss Robyn Kass has a difficult job as she tries to cast a good mix of contestants for the show each summer. Ahead of the recent Big Brother Season 21 cast reveal, the long-time casting director took to Twitter to reveal that she was bracing herself for the backlash as people routinely bash her for her casting picks.
“Ahhhh, enjoying my last day of serenity,” Kass tweeted last month. “Before random people, who don’t know me, start saying horrible things about me for doing my job.”
Some Big Brother fans commented to demand that more people of color and wider age ranges are cast on the show, while others accused Kass and her team of “casting from Instagram.”
Big Brother airs Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays on CBS.