reality tv

Disney character cards & 15 minutes to impress: What happens inside the Big Brother auditions.

Big Brother is back. After a hugely popular run on Network 10 (and then the Nine Network, but we don’t talk about that) in the Noughties, the genre-defining reality show will be returning in 2020 on Seven.

And producers are currently recruiting.

Should you wish to join a group of strangers living in a house rigged with cameras and monitored by a disembodied omnipotent landlord, we’ve got some info that could help make it happen.

Including how the auditions are run…

‘Leaked’ documents reveal what happens at Big Brother auditions.

A Facebook page called Behind Big Brother this week posted images of documents reportedly left behind at the Brisbane auditions of the program, held on Tuesday at the Emporium Hotel.

Among them is what appears to be a run-sheet for producers, detailing the process for the day. It seems that the ‘contributors’ are split into four groups. Each then spends 15 minutes chatting one-on-one with the producer assigned to their group. After that, the ‘nos’ are dismissed, and those declared a ‘yes’ are handed a “Disney character card”, which TV Black Box speculates may indicate their personality type.

They will then go into something called ‘Group IV’, 10 at a time. After whatever happens in Group IV, they’re all dismissed and the most promising are contacted to arrange one-on-one interviews with senior producers.

Among the documents were also pages with plainly contentious phrases printed in bold, e.g. “PINEAPPLE ON PIZZA”, “MAFS OR SURVIVOR”, “VEGANISM”.

Which we assume the auditionees have to debate/take a position on at some point. Or… OR… maybe they have to cook a cheese-free pineapple pizza using a fire they built themselves while marrying someone they’ve never met. Yep. Probably that.

(Mamamia has reached out to Seven for comment on the documents.)

How to get noticed.

Still keen to take part?

Speaking to Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, former Big Brother producer Yana Groves explained what it takes to get noticed among thousands of applicants.

“We’re always looking for someone who stands out,” she said. “People who have ‘the X-Factor’, people who have that sort of star quality. But also people who are interesting and have, maybe, a multifaceted talent…

“So you can have a singing talent that might not be your first impression, it might not be the first thing that people see in you.

“It’s really about finding somebody who can engage an audience and who can be entertaining, because really that’s what we’re making: entertaining telly.”

The Quicky talks to a former Big Brother producer about how to get on reality TV. Post continues after podcast. 

But if you can’t fall back on busting out some Adele, what should you do? Dye your hair pink? Wear a giant chicken costume? Act like ‘the villain’?

Only if it’s true to your personality, says Groves.


After all, her number-one piece of advice is something that your mum has been telling you all along.

Be yourself.

“Producers are going to know straight away if you’re putting on an act. All we’re looking for are people who are genuine and people who really have the right motivation [to appear on the show],” she said.

Ideally, when that happens, producers end up with a broad cross-section of personalities. But whatever you do, don’t try to ‘create’ one for the sake of fitting a ‘type’.

Big Brother moments: Remember when Merlin used his eviction to stage a protest?

Video by Channel 10

“For me, the biggest bugbear is [when people say] ‘My friends say I’m zany and wacky! My friends think I’m crazy! I’m off the chain!’ Because if you’re saying that, it probably means you aren’t.

“There’s something about somebody who has individuality. You can see straight away whether that’s genuine or not.”

Besides, the pre-production process is so long and intensive, that frauds are typically caught out along the way.

“If you have an opinion and you stick by it, you’ll never struggle being challenged on your opinion if that’s your true opinion,” she said. “So I think it’s the right way to go across the board.”

Big Brother 2003 star turned radio host, Chrissie Swan, agrees.

“Be honest. Be honest in the questionnaire. Honesty is interesting,” she said. “Don’t edit yourself or change your answers or change your reactions to things because you think you’ve seen another housemate that might have reacted that way.

“What the producers are wanting are all the wonderful interesting things that make up people in the world. They don’t want a carbon copy of someone we’ve already seen. They want you.”

Hear that? ‘[Insert your name here] to the diary room.’


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