ABC's 'Glass House' to Open Its Doors as Planned
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.