This past Saturday (March 10), I had the pleasure to go behind the scenes of a “Power of Veto” competition on the set of Big Brother Canada.
Set to air this Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. ET on Global, the episode will feature Head of Household Ryan’s nominees Andrew and Hamza battle it out with a few other players for the opportunity to change the nominations during a special Tomb Raider-themed competition.
“I got to watch the movie a couple of months ago, which was really great,” said challenge producer Trevor Boris. “Films are inherently cool, so we just get to bring it to life and it makes for great challenges. Especially with a movie like Tomb Raider, where there’s so much action. It was easier to draw inspiration from this movie because a lot of the action takes place on an island.”
This Power of Veto challenge will have multiple parts that’ll including climbing, archery, and puzzle-solving. “There are a lot of jumping and puzzle components in the film as well. For me, what makes a good challenge is that you want to utilize a lot of different skill sets. Not something that’s just physical, but also include some problem-solving.”
This week’s challenge should take the houseguests about 30 to 40 minutes to complete in real time. All challenges are always tried out by production staff and are often tweaked depending on how they are performed while testing. For example, after our media challenge, they may have decided to tweak the puzzle component a bit. Boris admits that while he does take pleasure in coming up with the challenges and trying them out, he’s terrible at puzzles. “I’m actually terrible at those! But, I don’t need to be the best, I just need to come up with them!”
Despite fan theories that certain challenges are done to favour certain houseguests, Boris shoots it down. “We actually come up with all the challenges months and months in advance. These were developed last summer, so well before we even knew who was going to be a houseguest. We put it on the schedule three months before we did the casting. It’s just how it works out. But of course, when you have a sponsored challenge (like Warner Bros.’ Tomb Raider film), it’ll come together a little later. But before the premiere, we’ve already mapped out how the season will be challenge-wise. It’s all set. For some people, it works out. The great thing about this show is that even though it’s a competition based show, there’s also a social element to the game. So you can do well without winning any competitions. You can do well with your social game. Competitions are just one part of it. Some people don’t need competitions to do well.”
Boris has been a Big Brother fan for years and in addition to producing the Canadian version of the franchise, he got the opportunity to produce challenges for the U.S. series’ 18th season in 2016. “Working on Big Brother U.S. was very cool. I had been a fan of that show forever. It’s the exact same show really… but totally different.” When it comes to produces challenges though, Boris admits that he’s got a pretty good gig in Canada. “There are a lot more people involved. A lot more decision makers [on the CBS version]. So it can be tricky to get stuff through. Down there, there are a lot more cooks in the kitchen. So, it can be tough… But to their credit, they know what they like. They’re on season 20 [this summer]! To them, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. Whereas here, I feel like we came in with a lot the viewers being fans of the U.S. version, so it didn’t make sense to produce the exact same show. We want to give fans of Big Brother a different experience [in Canada] rather than just more of the same. I think our casts are more diverse and our twists are different. We have less of a budget, but we have really creative people… We try not to redo anything. We look to have fun!”
As for his favourite competition, Boris looks back to the ant farm challenge during Big Brother Canada’s third season. “That was probably my favourite ever. There was this big vertical maze. That was a really cool one.”
A standup comedian, you may remember Boris from his appearances on Much’s Video on Trial — that’s also him voicing Big Brother Canada’s hilarious Marsha the moose!
The ’Tomb Raider’ Power of Veto challenge airs this Wednesday, March 14, at 7 p.m. ET on Global. Tomb Raider is in theatres this Friday, March 16. For more of The TV Watercooler’s Big Brother Canada coverage, click here.