By LISA ROCKMAN
Twenty years ago, nine people entered a purpose-built house to be watched 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by "Big Brother" and it changed Australian television forever. Now, after six years off our screens, one of the world's biggest entertainment formats is back.
In 2020, Big Brother follows 20 unique and ambitious housemates, ranging in age from 19 to 62 and representing a broad cross-section of Australia.
They live together for six weeks, cut off from the outside world in a custom-built house fitted with cameras and microphones recording every inch of the house and their every move, 24 hours a day.
This year, the game has evolved. The housemates compete in nomination challenges to gain the power to nominate their fellow housemates for eviction. At eviction, they individually vote to decide who will leave the house.
For the first time in Australian Big Brother history, it will be their choice to vote who will go home each episode.
Big Brother will keep the housemates on their toes by having them compete in hilarious and crazy house tasks that will reward them with everything from shopping money and dinner parties to tear-jerking messages from their loved ones.
This year the housemates will have to play harder than ever to stay in the game. Host Sonia Kruger will be there every step of the way to question their strategies and pick apart their motives.
In the end, Australia will decide in a live finale which of the final three housemates deserves to win Big Brother and the $250,000 prize money.
"I'm loving the level of interest in this new, re-imagined Big Brother. It's incredible," Kruger said.
"So many people refer to it as the 'big daddy' of reality television, and they're right. It gave us this fly-on-the-wall style of reality television and was the template, really, for a lot of programs that we see on air today."
An important part of the new-look Big Brother 2020 is that it is pre-recorded.
And necessarily so, says Kruger. There are 65 cameras in the Big Brother house working non-stop.
"Twenty years ago we could watch someone making a sandwich in the kitchen and go 'Wow, that's fascinating' but our viewing habits and our appetites have changed," she said.
"As we've become more time poor, we've needed more out of every episode. We needed to move more quickly. We needed an outcome. We needed to know what was happening tomorrow night.
"The show was never really live anyway. The packages that you saw were things that happened in the house in the 24 hours previously.
"It's monumental what they've managed to do with this new series and it's something that I think could be adopted globally. Australia could be setting the new standard for Big Brother."
So, would Kruger permit her daughter Maggie to watch Big Brother 2020? Yes. And not only that, she'd even let her apply to be a housemate.
"I would be happy for her to go on this Big Brother. Absolutely," she replied.
"To me this season is about heart and soul and integrity. Yeah, there's some backstabbing going on but there is nothing in there as a parent that would concern me.
"Other reality shows, maybe not so much."
7.30pm Monday, Prime7