The CBS’s Big Brother vs. ABC’s The Glass House Debate: Similar or Not?

ABC's The Glass HouseOver the past couple of weeks, ABC has been in a legal showdown with CBS over their new reality show titled The Glass House, which CBS is declaring is a direct rip-off of their annual summer hit Big Brother. From one standing point, the premises are the same: an “x” amount of strangers from different backgrounds and personalities are thrown in a house to compete for a cash prize all while being taped 24/7. However, both shows do have various differences when you look at the grand scheme of things, namely how each show executes that basic premise I just laid out above. Here’s some notable contrasts between both shows.

1) Audience Interaction is Encouraged More on The Glass House than Big Brother, It Seems

The Glass House will use social networking and other avenues to have their contestants interact with the viewing public it seems. Each TGH contestant has their own personal Twitter and Facebook accounts for fans to send in questions that could be featured on the show. Now its still not clear if, how, or when the contestants will be able to use said accounts, but that they even have them is a sharp contrast from Big Brother, where the contestants, sans the Head of Household, do not have access to a computer throughout the season. Plus, the Head of Household on Big Brother is only allowed to use a computer at certain times when the producers let it to answer questions to the press or fans. They, nor does any other Big Brother contestant, have a designated Twitter, Facebook, etc account assigned to them.

2) Live Feeds are 24/7 for Big Brother, While The Glass House Has 7 Total Live Stream Hours… And is Free

One of the big anticipations each summer for Big Brother fans is access to the 24/7 live feeds, which usually are available to the public a week before the show’s premiere. The feeds give fans the total Big Brother experience where the contestants’ every move is being watched, scrutinized, and documented among the most die-hard of fans, bloggers, and journalists. Competitions, Nomination Ceremonies, and Evictions are not on the live feeds to keep some sort of element of surprise for the viewers who don’t tune into the live feeds on a regular basis. To have the live feeds, you must cough up close to $45 bucks each season, or $14.99 a month, based on how long the season lasts.

Another way Big Brother fans could view the live feeds is through Showtime 2’s airing of Big Brother: After Dark, which is a three-hour access portal to the late night happenings in the Big Brother house. But again, you must be subscribed to Showtime 2 to get the feeds there.

The Glass House, however, will only offer a total of seven hours of live feed footage for free on Mondays from 11pm – 3am ET and Tuesdays thru Thursdays from 3pm – 4pm ET.

3) America Ultimately Votes Who Goes Home on The Glass House, While Fellow Big Brother Contestants Seal The Fates of One of Their Own

Instead of having the Head of Household nominate two people to be sent packing and having the Big Brother House vote on who to keep and who to stay, The Glass House puts the power completely into the hands of the viewers, which is another sharp divergence from Big Brother in terms of gameplay. On Big Brother, the concept of “an alliance” is considered gospel and, depending on various factors, could be a contestant’s saving grace or their downfall among everyone in the house.

If the viewers of The Glass House have control of voting who stays and who goes, then alliances, in theory, will not work in this game. Instead of catering to a house guest with temporary power (ala Big Brother), a Glass House contestant will have to constantly cater to the viewer to keep them happy enough to not send them home.

The Glass House viewers will also vote on who will be the team captains in challenges, so whichever team loses, the captain will be automatically sent to the chopping block (or what TGH calls “limbo”). The house only votes on another losing team member to send to the chopping block with the losing team captain.

4) The Glass House Will Last Only Ten Episodes, While Big Brother Continues On Until the Fall TV Season Starts

Surprisingly, The Glass House will only have ten episodes and only air on Monday nights this summer, while Big Brother will air the usual three episodes a week all the way up until the finale in September. Of course, these airings are all subject to interruption in case of pre-emption for sports, national disasters and the like. But from the look of things, The Glass House will be with us for only half of the summer.

There are probably a few more deviations between The Glass House and Big Brother, but we won’t know until The Glass House actually airs next Monday. The TGH contestants are already in the house (as of today), so we will probably start to get a feel of whether or not the two shows are either the same peas in the pod or completely different altogether.

What is your take on the war between Big Brother and The Glass House?

The Glass House premieres Monday, June 18th @10/9c on ABC, while Big Brother returns on July 12th, @8/7c on CBS

Photo Credits: ABC, CBS

Sources: ABC’s The Glass House FAQ

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