There’s been a buzz on most reality websites today because ABC has announced a new reality show that is claimed to give Big Brother a run for its money. The Glass House, which debuts June 18 at 10/9c on ABC will set 14 contestants in a high-tech voyeuristic house, very similar to Big Brother. What differentiates this from BB? The viewing audience will have control of the game, not limited to major events like evictions or who will reenter the house, but will have control of minute details of the contestants daily lives, such as what they will wear and eat, where they sleep and what games they play. Viewers will also have the chance to give their favorite contestants feedback on their game from outside the house. You may read ABC’s press release here
While I was initially excited about this news as it sounded like a more modern version of the international versions of Big Brother, such as played in the United Kingdom, I do have some reservations upon thinking on how this will play out.
The biggest red light for me is that the release states “several times a week, viewers can watch a live online feed of the players…” What? Scheduled live feeds? This means that the contestants will know exactly when we will be watching them, therefore know when to be “on” and put on a show for us, not giving us a true grasp of who they really are as we’d get with 24 hour live feeds. This will give production much more power to show us what they want us to see on the televised program, therefore influencing our perception of contestants, giving us the dreaded “scripted reality” that’s become more popular with modern reality shows.
The Glass House will not have a host and I’m at a complete loss as to how this will work. I’m assuming it will have to have an emcee or moderator of some kind and I’m a little leery having a faceless voice telling us to “vote now!” A good host personalizes the show and gives it a human face where being presented with just a voice will give the show a cold, lonely feel.
Much of the success of this show will also have to do with casting. Are they going to give us real, unique personalities or are we going to get more of the same of what we expect from ABC reality. This is the network that brings us The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad after all. Though I’m not a viewer of these shows, I have seen the less than varied casts they’ve put out and one can hardly say they put much thought into giving us a diverse cast.
Lastly, I’m a little scared, after seeing the overblown popularity of Jeff and Jordan and seeing the results of voting Brendon back in the Big Brother US house last year, of giving the viewers that much power in the game. Effectually, this isn’t the typical cutthroat reality competition we’ve become accustomed to in the United States, like Big Brother or Survivor, but it’s instead a popularity contest. I don’t think any unique character of an alternative race, lifestyle or religion will stand a chance, but some dopey halfwit with a little charm will take the show by storm. That leaves little room for someone there to play a game and therefor will be as dull as dishwater to watch.
I’ll give it a shot since it starts about a month before Big Brother, but I’m sure once our usual summer obsessions premiers, The Glass House will fall by the wayside. If anything good becomes of it, it may light a fire under the Big Brother producers to stave off the competition and make some changes to a rapidly stagnating format.
So, will The Glass House stand up to our standby summer obsession? Tell me what you think!Subscribe for Free to Big Brother 14 spoilers & updates by Twitter, RSS or by Email