Robyn Kass answers your questions and more about Big Brother casting. Fascinating lady :)
HI Jokers. thanks for all your interesting questions about BB casting. The entire process is crazy, interesting, fun and exhausting, but hopefully we’ve done our job! Obviously, because of the confidentiality agreement I sign there are some things I can’t discuss, but I tried answering everything to best of my ability! Hope you all enjoyed the season!!
What are the qualities and main personality traits you look for when you cast BB?
People with strong opinions…. I don’t care what their opinions are as long as they stick with their true feelings and are able to express them clearly. People who say they’d be good on Big Brother “because they get along with everyone” is first of all lying and second, not a great candidate. I look for people who are gonna shake it up!
Would you consider casting someone who knows BB inside and out?
This is a bizarre question, because clearly this season I did have die hard BB fans on the cast. Joe, Kail, Eric and Dick have all been watching the show since the beginning and know it inside and out. Both Kail and Dick have applied for past seasons as well.
Why do you keep casting those who don’t know about BB?
I always say the best people get on the show. I don’t care if they know the show, if they don’t know the show, if they study the show or if they’ve only seen a few episodes….. the best people make it on.
Does BB purposefully cast people who are marginal either academically and/or emotionally?
Hummm, well I’m gonna have to disagree with this statement, but everyone is entitled to their opinion…. I think the Big Brother game is best suited for people who not only have brains, but more importantly street smarts. People who are good at manipulation, strategy and who are good with their words. I don’t think academics get someone to the end…. I think the people who are quick on their feet and able to think fast are the best candidates. Again, I cast the people who are best for the show and the game…. A degree of any kind is not a prerequisite. As for their emotional state… people who have never been in the BB house will never understand the degree of stress. Viewers watch the feeds and think they get it, they don’t…. ask any former HG. Each HG goes through numerous interviews and tests in order to make sure they are stable enough for the show. I’m not a doctor, so I’m not the one making those decisions, but everyone entering the house is more than “marginal” emotionally.
What’s one thing about the casting process that the average person wouldn’t know?
Ohhh, there are lots. Maybe that the end result has so many aspects to it. The cast is not made up of my 14 favorite people. We look at the cast as a puzzle… which pieces are best suited for each other. Sometimes my favorite person doesn’t get on the show because they are a great individual, but not right for the mix. That is why I always tell people to keep applying if they want to get on. They might not be right THIS season, but they might be great next season (ala- Dick and Kail).
Generally how many people apply each season?
Not as many as you’d think.
How many auditions does it take before you’re actually cast?
A LOT! Believe me, I’m sure all the HGs are sick of me by the time they move in! They will generally go through 2 to 3 interviews with my staff before coming to LA and meeting me (and producers). Once in LA, they will have numerous formal interviews and many lunches, dinners, etc with me. I do get to know these people very well before the show begins.
Why use agents to recruit people for the show when there are so many people applying?
Another misconception of the casting process. I have never used an agency to find people for the show. I will say, that my staff and I are armed with our business cards year round. If I’m at a bar and someone funny is next to me I’ll ask them to apply. If someone on my staff meets an interesting person at a store or the beach or at the gym, etc we will talk to them about the show. We rarely get audition tapes from single, hot, young men (and what’s BB without a few of those), so when the show comes around we will absolutely be on the look out for those types, but I’ve never gone through agencies of any kind.
Why don’t we see Mexican/Americans?
Never say never!
I would like to know whether there is any way to recommend someone for the show?
Every person has to apply and go through the process. I often get emails about people who would be good for the show. All I can say, is have them apply. Anyone can recommend anyone for the show, but the first thing I’ll tell them is to apply.
What comes first? The twist or the cast? Do they cast for a specific twist in mind or do they meet someone and then a twist comes to mind?
I’m under contract and unfortunately can’t discuss the casting process of the twists, sorry.
Did you think Amber was emotionally stable enough to go on BB?
I do and I think she is emotionally stable enough to get through any backlash that might come in her direction. I think she might shed a tear or two along the way, but I think she’s fine!
What’s the oldest age you would consider casting?
No age limit. Something to keep in mind about BB…… Big Brother is the longest of any reality show. It is the biggest commitment and, I think, the most difficult reality show. The older you get the more difficult it is to take yourself away from your life, your job, your work, your commitments. On a show like Survivor, they leave for a month and ˝. BB is twice that. We do get a small number of older applicants, but once they really sit down and think about what they will be leaving behind people get cold feet. It happens all the time.
Are there any house guests that you cast that completely changed when they entered the house?
Why don’t they go back to casting strangers, instead of these twists?
I’m not part of that decision making. And believe me when I say, for every fan who would rather have no twist there is a fan who will be upset if they go back to 14 strangers.
Would you rather there be no twist, so you could cast 14 strangers?
There are upsides and downsides for both scenarios! I enjoy it either way.
Do you stay in contact with people you cast? How do they respond to negative press?
ABSOLUTELY! I have hundreds of BB “children” running around and I keep in contact with most of them. I actually just went to NY for Dana Varela’s wedding (BB4). As far as negative press, I try giving them the best advice I can give. Like any celebs, they have to take the good with the bad. Every viewer is going to have different opinions and if they are going to read what people have to say they need to take it with a grain of salt. I’m sure every person in America has said things in private moments to close friends that they would hope no one would hear. Unfortunately, for the HGs their every move is captured… good and bad. Any bad press will settle and they are all strong enough to get through it…. They’re just words!