Television Without Pity

Ten Ways to Fix ‘Big Brother’

Television Without Pity

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Our interest in "BB" is hanging by a thread (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Our interest in "BB" is hanging by a thread (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Hard as it may be for longtime "Big Brother" fans like us to believe, the show's ratings have actually increased throughout this summer, recently hitting a season high of 7.96 million viewers, with several more weeks to go.

We're guessing that the lack of any real network competition (mostly reruns air opposite it) helps explain this success, and maybe reality junkies need something to watch now that "So You Think You Can Dance" is over. What's most vexing, however, is that this increase in popularity is likely to give the producers even less incentive to change the show for next year -- and believe us, it needs improvement.

Here are the things we'd like to see fixed:

10. Find Players
Could they find more competitive people who actually have the skills to back things up? Adam's a big old fanboy, but he's not what you'd call athletic, and some of the other houseguests don't seem like they even want to be there (Porsche, we're looking at you). We don't love the returning players a whole lot, but at least they're making an effort to do more than just look attractive on a reality show.

9. Diversify
This show doesn't exactly break out of the mold very much when it comes to age, race, or sexual orientation. Each season tries to fill some unspoken quotas, but they could do a lot more than just cast young pretty people.

[Photos: Meet This Season's "Big Brother" Houseguests]

8. Add Celebrities
Hey, it works for the U.K. edition, and we've got a whole host of desperate celebrities we'd like to see live in the house, "Surreal Life" style.

7. Audience Interaction
Do we really care what the have-nots eat for a week? No. And only one chance for viewers to actually affect that game during the course of a summer is lame. Can't we pick someone to get a veto pass or a get-off-the-block card every once and a while? We don't need another America's Player necessarily, but it would be nice to feel included.

6. No Repeat Players
Actually, that should be no repeat players unless it is an entire all-star season. Having the veterans pitted against new people is like shooting a fish in the barrel. And if they are going to bring people back (since that seems to be the CBS reality show gimmick these days), at least bring players that don't make us want to punch our television sets.

[Video: Watch Highlights from the "Big Brother" Feed]

5. Slop-Free Summer
The whole have/have-not aspect of the show is getting old because no one really seems to care all that much. They gripe for a few days and then they are over it. So the competitions to see who gets stuck on slop are essentially irrelevant after week one.

4. More Forced Activities
If you've never watched the live feeds, let's just say they're about as exciting as watching paint dry. For 80 percent of the time, the houseguests are either sleeping or just lounging around on various couches talking about nothing. We've seen cats that are more active. We'd like to see "Big Brother" find new ways to either torture or reward them more frequently so that we'd feel like we were getting our money's worth. And could there be some sort of incentive for attractive people to hook up? Because some of that makes the U.K. version more fun.

3. Less Filler
The episodes that air on CBS are so padded, particularly the Sunday and Wednesday episodes that aren't broadcast live. And most of the good fights get edited down to next to nothing. Could we get the real highlights from the feeds, instead of just more of Rachel whining?

[Photos: Take a Tour of the "Big Brother" House]

2. Better Twists
"Expect the unexpected" is this show's motto, and yet, we are rarely surprised by "Big Brother." Oh, they brought someone back to the game? We haven't seen that a million times before. And this season's big partnering twist was a dud the minute that Evel Dick walked out of the house for whatever personal reasons he had -- before the second episode.

1. More Real Time
In this day and age of the Internet, it is hard to produce this show without spoilers leaking. And by the time the Wednesday airing rolls around, we've known for days who won the PoV and if they used it, making the padded episode is even more insufferable. Somehow, when it was on Tuesdays, it wasn't as bad. We'd prefer more real-time competitions, and we'd like a half-hour recap show nightly, instead of a one-hour installment three times a week.

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Are you fed up with "Big Brother"? Or is it better than ever? Tell us in the comments.

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