Behind the Scenes look at the Big Brother 15 Cast Interviews

Since the reveal of the Big Brother 15 houseguests on Thursday afternoon, most of us have watched many of the BB15 houseguests interviews done by the various media outlets. Like you, we are super jealous of the lucky few individuals that got meet the HGs days before the rest of America.

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Since CBS will never take a site like mine serious enough do such interviews (crazy I know), I reached out to Matthew Boyer owner of Big Brother Network to give us a behind the scenes look at the Big Brother press junket.  Matt not only gives us a look behind the scene but also shares some insight to the HGs from his time with them off-camera.

Behind the Scenes look at the Big Brother 15 Cast Interviews

Matt on the big day with Big Brother Canada winner Jillian

IHBB: Tell us a little about yourself and how the heck did you get started with all this Big Brother media stuff?

Matt: I started watching Big Brother the very first season and was hooked. It was such a different show and I loved the “social experiment” aspect of it. This new “reality TV” thing was kicking off as something big that summer in 2000 with Big Brother following the premiere of Survivor by just a few weeks. It was exciting and new.

Every year I kept watching the shows and following it online religiously. I had to know what was happening every minute. Big Brother is the most addictive show I’ve ever watched and by far the most entertaining. What other show offers the same around the clock activity to keep feeding your interest?

In 2007 I started an entertainment blog with a friend and when the summer came around I couldn’t pass up the chance to add my opinion to what was already a great online community. The next year I decided to launch “Big Brother Network” as a hub or “network” of BB sites sharing headlines and linking out to the best content I could find to share. Each year the coverage expanded to included more and more aspects of the show as best I could handle it. Before long I asked other writers to join me and here we are today.

As for getting these incredible opportunities to meet the cast and mingle with legitimate news outlets like People Magazine and ET that’s all thanks to our readers. The amazing fan support and following is what gave us the leverage to get our foot in the door and kick it wide open for the online fan community.

IHBB: Take us behind the scenes a bit, walk us through what happens leading up to the interviews, during and after at the press junket.

Matt: Interviews kick off early in the day. I arrive first thing in the morning to set up my equipment and settle in to my private interview room with my name on its door. This year I was a step away from ET’s room and CBS’ interviews with Jeff Schroeder just sitting there waiting to get started. The entire thing is surreal.

Then there’s a quick meeting with members of CBS’ team to receive the list of bios and sign a “if I reveal anything to the public early I’ll be in court for the rest of my life” agreement. At this point, I’m seeing the names of the HGs for the first time which leaves little time to prep and discover any surprises in the mix.

Once the first houseguest arrives it’s all go-go-go from there on out. Each person is brought in one at a time along with a “handler” who stays in the room to keep tabs like a chaperone. I get about 15 minutes with each person before they’re whisked away to the next interview.

For BB15 I met 4 more people than the season before (16 HGs vs 12 last year) which was already a full day. It’s surprisingly exhausting, but at the same time you’re so fired up from the experience that you never slow down. Once the last interview is done I pack up and head for the airport so I can get back and start working.

I had 42 hours from the time I turned off the cameras until the media embargo was lifted. There were 30% more interviews this year and one less day to produce and prepare everything. I love a challenge. With a 5+ hour flight back home and less than six hours of sleep the following night I was scrambling to have everything in place at 2:59PM and didn’t fully finish the work until Saturday evening, two days later.

Yes, it is brutal but completely, totally worth every minute of it. Knowing I hold a secret that millions of fans want to discover drives me to put together the absolute best delivery we can for the houseguests’ reveal.

IHBB: How does CBS make sure the houseguests do not see each other as they move from interview to interview?

Matt: This part is amazing. It’s like a massive puzzle or chess game. Each handler receives instructions on when and where to move their HG like something out of a movie. CBS goes to incredible lengths to protect and isolate the cast. HGs are not allowed to even catch a glimpse of one another before they arrive on the steps of Big Brother’s front door. It’s pretty impressive and very effective.

IHBB: Where do the interviews take place?

Matt: The past two junkets have actually been right on the CBS studio lot which is wild. If you take the long way back to your car you pass right by “The Talk” and even Studio 18, home to the Big Brother house.

IHBB: Are there any questions you can’t ask?

Matt: Surprisingly, no. It’s a free-for-all, but I think a lot of that freedom comes with the trust that you’re not going to abuse the situation. I tend to avoid religion and politics unless a HG breaches the topic first. I also leave out any family discussions since they didn’t sign-up to put their lives on broadcast. Off-camera discussions usually stay that way too, though they help me build a better understanding of the divide between the person and his or her HG persona.

IHBB: Can you provide any tidbits about any houseguests that we did not see on the camera?

Matt: Not all of the HGs are quickly moved on to the next interview. It just depends on what’s available and if there’s a clear path or not so sometimes you can spend an extra ten or fifteen minutes having very casual discussions. Often you can get a much better idea of their personality than what they show on-camera.

Off-camera I probably had the most fun talking with Judd. He was showing off some of his extra wardrobe, CBS sometimes likes them to switch outfits for the official photos taken that day, and was jokingly proud of one particular shirt. Possibly the most redneck shirt ever, he declared. A camoflauged long-sleeve t-shirt featuring a grizzly bear hunting fish in a stream. Judd mentioned “they” provided him with the shirt which I thought was interesting. Judd is a true fan of the series and even spent time watching BBCAN earlier this year. Knowing the trends of recent BB seasons, he promised me to protect the always anticipated female model HG from her typical week-two eviction. So yeah, Judd is alright in my book.

Most of the HGs were very calm and collected. Kaitlin was the most visibly nervous which might have something to do with her being a complete newbie to Big Brother. On the other hand, Spencer seemed to be the most relaxed and “I’m ready for this” out of the group.

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IHBB: Along those same lines, who seemed to “turn it on” the most for the camera?

Matt: Kind of a tie. Elissa Slater, Rachel Reilly’s sister, seemed a little forced like she was told to channel Rachel’s high-energy BB persona. Once the interview ended and we talked off-camera I felt like I was seeing more of the true Elissa. I’d speculate that CBS wants to play up that connection as much as possible, but really we’ve got a different sort of houseguest with Elissa than we had with Rachel.

As for the guys, it was definitely Nick Uhas. Holy cow. It was like someone set off firecrackers in his jeans. Very “HEY I’M NICK! LIFE IS AWESOME! ZING ZOW POW!” the whole time. Yes, he’ll be very entertaining but it wasn’t in the “wow, I really like this HG” sort of way. I’m still waiting to see how he is inside the house.

IHBB: Based on the limited time you spent with the houseguests, give us your favorites and least favorites.

Matt: Let me preface this by saying I draw the line between the people and their “HG persona.” They are not one in the same and my judgments are based on them as a HG.

Favorite female HG is close between Amanda & Kaitlin. Amanda promised a lot of “verbal diarrhea” and I believe her. She’ll be great entertainment if it she doesn’t get herself evicted for doing just that. Then Kaitlin had such a natural vibe combined with her complete unfamiliarity with the show that should be fun to watch. Plus, those eyes! Our video didn’t do them justice (bad lighting issue there). Of course that probably means she’ll be gone by week 2 so I’m really relying on Judd for this one.

Least favorite female HG is Aaryn. I was shooting for short, five-minute interviews this year and I couldn’t even hit that mark with her. Maybe she was nervous, maybe I’m a terrible interviewer, (maybe all of the above), but it was like trying to get blood from a stone. She was this year’s HG Kara. Wonderfully sweet, very pretty, but just not going to be an interesting HG. Of course she has the highest views of all our interviews so we could be stuck with her and this MVP thing for the bulk of the season.

Favorite male HG would be either Judd or Spencer though Andy isn’t far behind. All of them are going to get along really well with the other HGs and that’s going to help them get far. Both Judd and Spencer are big fans of the show so they know their stuff and will anticipate the next move well while giving viewers what they want.

Least favorite male HG is a tie between David and Nick. David was the male version of Aaryn. Nothing of substance available. “Like, dude, like” will be “like” his catch phrase, “dude.” He was also fairly proud of only working the summers and then by-choice mooching off society in the off-season collecting unemployment benefits. Then there was Nick. Like I said earlier, he’ll be very entertaining but for me it’ll be for all the wrong reasons. I’m really hoping he tones it way, way down by go-time or soon after. If not then he’ll likely annoy his fellow HGs in to an early exit. There’s no way I could spend 90+ days trapped with that personality. 15 minutes was too much as it was.

IHBB: We need a Big Brother blogger on the show, if offered would you do it?

Matt: Not a chance. I love the show so much and know it so well that I don’t want to discover I failed at it. Yep, I’m convinced that I’d be the next BB10′s Brian and be humiliated with a quick eviction.

When I covered an open-call audition event a few seasons back I interviewed the casting producer only to realize later that he had reversed the roles and I ended up unknowingly getting my own audition. It was a blast, but clearly I didn’t generate that “we must have him!” reaction. As McCrae is becoming known for this preseason for saying, “Know your role, shut your hole.” Staying out here and covering every minute is my role even if I can’t shut my hole.

Maybe someday I’ll get to join in the fun of a Media Day and live the Big Brother experience for just one day, oh to dream, but until then I’ll keep enjoying it from out here.

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IHBB: Describe each HGs in only two words.

Matt: OK, here we go…

Aaryn: pretty, sweet
Amanda: verbal diarrhea
Andy: great potential
Candice: well rehearsed
David: like dude
Elissa: not Rachel
GinaMarie: Brooklyn Party
Helen: house mom

Howard: quiet & reserved
Jeremy: overly confident
Jessie: Texas smile
Judd: beer buddy
Kaitlin: those eyes!
McCrae: unknown quantity
Nick: too much
Spencer: bearded buddy

IHHB Note: Matt plans to give a deeper break down of each houseguest on Big Brother Network later this week. We will link to it once published.

IHBB: I am going to put you on the spot, who is going to win Big Brother 15?

Matt: The girls have the advantage this year. Last year I left the interviews thinking the guys were far more compelling than the ladies. This time is nearly the complete reverse.

I’m extremely hesistant to make this prediction without seeing their dynamics once mixed together, but I’ll toss out Amanda and Elissa as two options. That prediction expires Wednesday night at 8PM though. Unless either one of them ends up winning. Then I meant it the whole time and was totally right.

Thanks to Matt for giving us this exclusive look behind the scenes of the cast interviews. Make sure you check out the video below for a cool time lapse view of the day along with links to each houseguests video interview.

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2 Responses to Behind the Scenes look at the Big Brother 15 Cast Interviews

  1. kiersten June 24, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    youre missing a cast member ! kaitlin is missing from the cast pictures on the top of this website!

  2. Topher June 24, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Thanks! I got it fixed. Nice catch.

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