Executive producer ready to prove why his reality series is no 'Big Brother' rip-off
Kenny Rosen is more excited than a randy groom about to marry a hot lingerie model.
The executive producer's show, "The Glass House," will debut Monday, June 18, on ABC as planned, despite CBS' attempt to stop the broadcast. Rosen used to produce "Big Brother" for CBS and the Eye network is accusing him and ABC of blatantly ripping off their show.
A judge ruled that because viewers will dictate how things go on "The Glass House," it is different enough from "Big Brother" and should air.
After the show debuts, fans will also be able to keep up with the 14 contestants by logging onto ABC.com and following them live from noon to 1 p.m. PT Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
MSN TV caught up with Rosen to talk about "The Glass House" and why he thinks reality lovers will enjoy it. "The Glass House" debuts Monday, June 18, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
MSN TV: How are you doing? Are you semi-excited about the show?
Kenny Rosen: Semi-excited? I’m excited through the roof.
By now, I’m sure anyone watching the NBA Finals has seen the promos for “Glass House.” That must feel good.
They are awesome promos, aren’t they? I have a lot to live up to just based on the promos. We’re shooting it and we’re editing it and we’re prepping it. And we’re moving forward. I’m just trying to produce a TV show at this point.
So what is at issue here? At a glance, it seems like CBS is upset that you were a former producer on “Big Brother” and that a number of crew members from “Big Brother” followed you to work on “Glass House.” What is the deal?
Our format is completely different than anything that has ever been on the air before and our format is all about viewers controlling the game. Viewers control all the important aspects of the game including the most important aspect, the elimination every week. Each week, at the end of each episode, two people will leave the house in limbo and then the viewers get to vote which one of those people they want to see re-enter the game and which person is eliminated from the game forever. We’re turning complete control over to the viewers. We’re letting them run our game.
That’s a lot of control for viewers.
That’s the idea. We’re letting them decide on food, we’re letting them decide on things inside the house. We’re letting them basically invent the game. It’s our first season so we’re letting them create this on the fly, both our contestants and the viewers. And their interaction kind of dictates what happens. We’re not forcing things upon them that they don’t want. We’re letting the viewers decide.
Has there been another show like this where viewers had this kind of power?
Not to this extent that I know of, no.
Is everything glass? How does that work?
The main area of the house is a big glass box and you can actually see pictures if you go to ABC.com where we have gorgeous pictures of our set. It’s a very modern, sleek look. And of course, there’s robotic cameras all throughout and camera blinds where the cameramen can roam behind the walls and the contestants won’t know they’ve being shot. There’s glass in each room, and there are mirrors in each room and so it is truly and fully a glass house. Even the shower stall doors are made of glass.
How do you deal with the glass shower doors when people are showering? Do you blur out the nudity?
Well, we’ve got frosted glass in some areas so you won’t be able to see everything.
What’s the breakdown of the cast?
We have seven men and seven women ranging in age from 21 to 48, and they are very diverse. I’m talking geographically and their backgrounds and their jobs and their interests in life. And we really tried to cast people we thought America could get behind and want to protect and want to see go far in the game. And we’ll give viewers to chance to protect their favorite characters.
Will viewers also control who betrays whom?
Every week, we have a formatted element of our show called “Fanswers” and it basically if answers with an “F” in the front. It’s a chance for the players in the game to pose a question to the viewers. It’s an A or B question, and it’s always a one-word answer. You can ask the viewers “Who should I trust?” and the viewers can choose up to two people. They can ask a true/false question or a yes/no question. They can even ask nonsensical questions if they’re not concerned with strategy or the game play that week and they’ll get an answer for the viewers in less than 24 hours. That element of the show always happens after the challenge and before the vote out at the end of the episode. Whether or not the contestant wants to use the viewers answer is entirely up to them. We can’t control how they play the game in the house. We can only let them know what the viewers stated through polls.
Will there be a confession booth or is that not necessary when you have a glass house?
We have a confessional but our confessional is going to work a little bit differently than every other confessional. Because usually confessionals on reality shows are places people go and really pour their heart out and tell the truth. But our contestants realize that that might not be the best strategy knowing they’re playing a game both inside the house and outside the house with the viewers. Because the viewers are more important, they might not want to tell their innermost secrets because it might have negative repercussions for them in the game.
What if they don’t trust the viewers?
Then they might do the opposite of the what viewers are telling them to do. They won’t always know where they stand with the viewers so it’s a matter of them trying to figure out what their standing in the world is. There’s a lot of layered strategy that this show has. It’s a brand new game and we’ve played in my office a few times but we haven’t really seen how it’s going to work with the players and the fans interacting.
Do you think viewers are ready for this kind of control?
I think the reality TV fans out there are sophisticated enough to know what they want to see. And hopefully, they’ll help us out and make some great TV for us.
It’s like that movie “The Truman Show” except the players are in on it.
Exactly. They’re in on it. It’s very “Truman Show” and a lot of people have also compared it to the electronic game “The Sims.” I’m not familiar with it but I’ve seen clips. But you basically build your city and everything for the players and that’s what we’re hoping the viewers will embrace. We just want to let the viewers decide if they want to watch the show or not.
"The Glass House" premieres Monday, June 18, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Report suggests Sophie's singing received mixed reaction from the judges
According to Britain's Daily Mail, Sophie -- who co-stars on her father's A&E reality show, "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" -- earned a mixed reaction from Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, L.A. Reid and Demi Lovato at the show's Season 2 San Francisco auditions.
Distancing herself as far as possible from charges of nepotism, the Mail reports that the hopeful music star didn't tell her parents about her Father's Day audition until Saturday -- to prevent dad from, um, making a few calls.
Yet a day's notice was still enough time for him to charter a private jet from Las Vegas. And, quite frankly, having Gene Simmons around to attract the show's cameras punched a gaping hole in Sophie's argument that "this isn't about my dad; this is about my audition."
According to the Mail, Reid asked Gene: "She's your daughter. It should be a yes?" Cowell then said: "No, that's not going to happen. She's just going to get a fair shot."
Although the Mail reports that the judges "didn't all agree on Sophie's performance," there's no word on whether she made it to the next round.
Season 2 of "X Factor" premieres in September on FOX.
Nicole gets second chance to passive-aggressively evaluate talent
Demi-soloist spills on her relationship angst with Rex, casting drama and the competition
ABC announces the spin-off's third round of slightly unbalanced housemates
Report: Three girls bounced from VH1 reality series
According to the gossip site, Reed was bounced because she can't get along with the other wives or discuss her baby daddy, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, due to a 2009 gag order. Williams is "too big a liability" after suing Nia Crooks for slapping her this past season. And Nichols was just "too boring."
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The decisions were apparently all made by show executive producer (and Shaq ex-wife) Shaunie O'Neal. On Monday, she told The Insider: "If I would like this franchise to keep going, yeah, three would have to go."
TMZ would not speculate on who might fill the vacancies, and VH1 had no comment about the report.
Fireworks explode over England as Emily goes 'West Virginia hood rat' on one bachelor
Special to MSN TV
This surprisingly entertaining season of "The Bachelorette" continues this week in London and Stratford Upon Avon, where, conveniently, we get to see the guys humiliated by Shakespeare, which was always going to be a pleasure. (It's like a 16th century revenge, played out 500 years later.)
But we're skipping ahead: First up on this week's one-on-ones is Sean. Is Sean the dark horse this season? He barely even spoke the first couple episodes, until Emily's friends sexually harassed him and made him (a) take off his shirt and (b) do push-ups for their own personal amusement. But he's proven to be a mature, level-headed guy, and Emily can't get enough of his Olympic swimmer looks: "Guys that look like you are usually really boring," she tells him. But he's not! Supposedly. They head to Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, and he gives an impromptu (?) speech about love: "My parents have shown me great love, and I'm searching for that great love. I haven't found it yet, but I'm hopeful that I will." Emily's all, can we please make out immeeeeediately. They have dinner in the Tower of London. "As you know, I have a six-year-old daughter," Emily says. I'm sure that made sense in context, but it sounds like, "As you know, I have blond hair" or "As you know, we breathe oxygen" or "As you know, I'm a corporeal human being." Not shockingly, Sean did know that, and equally unsurprisingly, he's totally down with the dad thing. He, of course, gets the rose.
Back at the ranch, the guys get the group date card: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Alejandro makes his sole contribution to the season by identifying the writer as Shakespeare -- which means that we're headed to the Bard's hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon. The group daters are Chris, Arie, Ryan, Doug, Alejandro, Travis, John, and Kalon, who's put in an extremely bad temper by missing out on his chance for a one-on-one and sits in the back of the room stewing like Patrick Bateman before a kill. Though these outings inevitably reward a good sense of humor and penalize taking things too seriously, Kalon -- improbably cast as Romeo -- hasn't gotten that memo: "He needs to chill out and realize he's not on Broadway," Emily says. He doesn't do either, so Arie steals the show, good-humoredly tramping his way through a performance as a “Romeo & Juliet” nurse. Ryan similarly impresses Emily by finding a way to make out with her on stage.
Shakespeare might actually be proud to know that the real drama came after the play -- with the cocktails. The evening begins typically enough, with Emily and Arie making out, and Ryan continuing to swing the pendulum from douche lothario to smooth operator. (He accomplishes the latter by pulling a necklace out of his pocket and giving it to her: "I'm sorry this is not some nice box or something," he says.) We've already seen a bit of Kalon's bad behavior, when he said that he was waiting impatiently for a one-on-one date -- but that every date's a group date when you're dating a single mom. (As, Emily will soon remind us, Kalon's mom was.) The slow-motion blow-up begins when Kalon complains to Chris about waiting for his chance to talk to Emily: "I'll get a chance to talk to an exhausted sick mother who has a daughter waiting for her." Oh, and? Kalon thinks six-year-old Ricki is baggage. Chris talks this over with Arie, and probably nothing would have come of it except Doug becomes involved -- and single dad Doug thinks that Emily needs to know. Doug actually tackles this the most mature way possible: He asks Kalon if he actually did call Ricki baggage. (He did. He's "not going to apologize for it.") Thus reassured, Doug tells Emily. "I'm trying to to think of the most ladylike way to handle it," she says. Then, she says, "I want to go out there and rip his limbs off and beat him with them." Confronted with his own words, Kalon tries to reframe "baggage" as "responsibility," but it's not working. "She's the furthest thing from baggage, and anyone with the tiniest heart could see that," Emily says. (Her best line is actually "I love to hear you talk, but not before I'm done -- I got that line from you.") Emily kicks him out, but all the drama leaves her in an unhappily contemplative mood. "I'm worried about my judgment," she says. "No one said anything. It makes me wonder, whose back do you have?" Well, except for Doug, right? There will be no roses on this night. "My dream guy would be willing to fight for me," she says. "And I don't know if I have someone who would have my back like that."
Emily, therefore, is even more under the weather when she meets Jef for afternoon tea. And an etiquette lesson. "I realized my one-on-one turned into a two-on-one with [the etiquette expert] and Emily," Jef says, disheartened. It looks incredibly, incredibly painful. "I'm not used to someone correcting me after everything I do on a date," Jef says. The etiquette lesson seems to be cut short: "I'm ready to get the hell out of here," Emily says. They go for fish and chips at a local pub, and then head up the London Eye for dinner and views over the city. Emily tells Jef that she “questions if you're into me all the time,” which seems to utterly mystify Jef. He scores the best Ricki-related answer of the night when Emily asks him if -- when she and Ricki move to Salt Lake City to be with him -- “the party's over.” “No,” he says. “It's like the party's just begun.” Well played, sir. Jef, obviously, gets a rose.
The rose ceremony follows, and is most notable for Ryan recovering from his lame-o showings the previous two weeks, with a dramatic interpretation and bunch of kissing. Emily's not totally buying it ... but she sort of is: “He's so smooth he thinks he can get any girl, and here I am falling for it.” As for the roses, they're going to ... everyone but Alejandro. It's gotta be a little more embarrassing when you're the only guy who's not going home. “Gosh,” he says. “I was definitely not expecting to go home tonight [and not go to Croatia].” We hardly knew ye, friend.
"The Bachelor" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.