'Big Brother' (Netherlands)
The original "Big Brother" was inspired both by MTV's "Real World" reality show and those biosphere experiments of the 1990s. It was an instant hit in the Netherlands, turning its winner, Bart Spring in 't Veld (what a name!), into a celebrity. Bart was also the first "Big Brother" participant to have one of those under-the-blanket sex moments (with housemate Sabine) that have become a series signature. These days, sore winner Bart complains about how "Big Brother" ruined his life.
'Big Boss' (India)
Presumably the name "Big Brother" doesn't translate in India. This version can be pretty wild. More than any other, "Big Boss" allows the host — actor Salman Khan — to make comments and criticize the housemates. Heck, he even criticizes the viewers. "Big Boss" is also notable for having once featured a cameo appearance by Pamela Anderson, who danced as only she can.
"Big Brother Australia" (Australia)
This one has generated the most controversy, largely for its late-night, uncut segments. In 2006, the show was found to have violated Aussie broadcast standards with some raunchy talk and an exposed penis. There was also an alleged sexual assault involving something called 'turkey slappin'. All the controversy eventually led to the Aussie prime minister asking for the show's cancellation. It didn't happen, though the show did leave the air for several years. It has since returned.
'Big Brother Brasil' (Brazil)
No surprise that Brazil would produce the best-looking "Big Brother" edition. They seem to go out of their way to find the hunkiest guys and most gorgeous women. A very high percentage of female participants also end up in Playboy. Miss Brasil, Joseane Oliveira, was even a contestant on the first instalment.
'Big Brother' (United Kingdom)
The key way in which the U.K. version differentiates itself from other international versions is that instead of filling the house with wannabe celebrities, Britain's "Big Brother" features actual celebrities, albeit those whose sell-by dates have long since expired. The only thing cooler than watching washed-up celebrities embarrass themselves on reality TV is watching washed-up British celebrities you never heard of embarrass themselves. This British series is also notable for its washed-up American celebrities. Reality show regulars Brigitte Nielsen, Dennis Rodman and boxer Evander Holyfield have all participated. Holyfield, in fact, exited in controversial style when he was voted off after offering up some homophobic remarks.
'Big Brother Africa' (Africa)
This series plays on the national pride of its participants, who come from a wide variety of African nations. Many of those countries really don't get along with others, adding to the fun. "Big Brother Africa" also set a record in Season Seven with 35 participants from 14 countries! Those aren't housemates. That's a mob. Dibs on the bathroom!
'Big Brother Germany' (Germany)
A big hit, the German version is memorable for a couple of reasons. For one thing, they allow smoking. Inside and outside. Talk about European In Season Six, the producers decided to make the show open-ended — with no finale. Turns out, the only thing that can stop "Big Brother" are declining ratings. Still, it lasted till Day 363! Not surprisingly, German fave David Hasselhoff (pictured) recently made an appearance on the German "Celebrity Big Brother". He sang and wandered around in a jacket that lit up.
'Grande Fratello' (Italy)
The ratings giant of all the "Big Brother" editions. Not sure why. The show really isn't all that different from any other "Big Brother" versions. It just seems to have captured Italy's fancy; at one point, half the TVs in Italy were tuned to this program. Impressive.
'Big Brother: The Boss' (Saudi Arabia)
This was a failed experiment. Twenty million bucks was invested in this 2004 attempt to bring the "Big Brother" franchise to the Arab region. Six men and six women shared a house in Bahrain. Well, sharing isn't exactly right. The sexes were largely kept separate, meeting only in common areas like the kitchen. Despite that, viewers reacted with outrage and anger. The show was cancelled after nine days.
'Big Brother' (U.S.A.)
One of the more successful versions worldwide, Julie Chen hosts the American version of "Big Brother", which wrapped up its 18th season in follows a group of people living together in a house outfitted with 87 HD cameras – seven more than last year – and more than 100 microphones, recording their every move 24 hours a day. Each week, someone will be voted out of the house, with the last remaining Houseguest receiving the grand prize of $500,000. BIG BROTHER’s three-hour premiere event spans two nights, with two-hours on Wednesday, June 22 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) and one-hour on Thursday, June 23 (9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network.
'Big Brother Canada' (Canada)
After kicking off its fifth season in March 2017, "Big Brother Canada" has taken the international formula and put a home-grown spin on it, adding an extra dose of Canuck craziness as host Arisa Cox presides over the hijinks. Season five continues to lay on the twists, with a mix of newbie houseguests competing against wily veterans from past seasons.