Ian Thomas Malone

big brother canada Archive



March 2023



Big Brother Canada must restore the live feeds

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture, TV Reviews

Big Brother can be a difficult passion to explain. The idea of watching over a dozen strangers locked in a house full of cameras tracking their every move for close to three months can sound monotonous, creepy, and even by design, a tad Orwellian. Big Brother is the ultimate endurance test in reality television, a marathon of lies, deception, and treachery that packs a hefty cash prize for the houseguest who manages to conquer the pit of vipers.

Big Brother Canada recently announced the discontinuation of its live feeds ahead of its eleventh season, in favor of curated “Digital Dallies” featuring highlights of the day’s events inside the house. Though there have been more than sixty iterations of Big Brother across the world over hundreds of seasons, BBCAN is the only one to follow the American style format, where houseguests are allowed to openly scheme against each other, a stark departure from the original rules of the Dutch-originated series. Whereas most international Big Brother series play out like American Idol, the public voting on each eviction, Big Brother US and Big Brother Canada take their cues more from Survivor, backstabbings and all.

The live feeds are where Big Brother makes its magic. Smart players recognize the slow-moving nature of the game, subtly planting the seeds of chaos in each week’s Head of Household. There are often more alliances formed in the early weeks of the show than one could count on both hands, certainly more than could be depicted on the show’s three weekly primetime episodes, commonly referred to as the “edit,” by superfans. Dozens of social media accounts dedicate practically every waking hour to covering the events of the house, ensuring that more casual fans never miss a beat.

Big Brother Canada is one of the best-produced reality shows on television. Its two most recent seasons featured some of the best dynamic gameplay and most memorable casts in the history of Big Brother North America, both immensely fluid seasons that weren’t governed by a majority alliance. Big Brother Canada contestants enter that house ready to make big moves, flip the votes, and play the game at a caliber comparable to the format’s golden era. People can say that with confidence in large part due to the transparency provided by the live feeds. We all know that BBCAN is in fact, that good.

Some fans will undoubtedly lose interest in the show as a result of this baffling decision, but the fact still remains that BBCAN is the only other Big Brother in the world that plays by the rules that have helped ensure the longevity of the game more than twenty years after its debut. Plenty of other countries have given up on Big Brother, including its native Netherlands. Big Brother Canada itself saw its future up in the air after its fifth season, with massive fan support saving the show from cancellation.

The decision to cancel the feeds will certainly push the show back in that unfortunate direction, which is a real shame. Big Brother Canada has a gorgeous house with ample space for the secret missions it lovingly deploys much more frequently than its American counterpart, a throwback to the original format of the show. Arisa Cox is a fantastic, engaging host with a genuine passion for the game that exudes from every one of the show’s eviction episodes. Fans taking to Twitter with vows to abandon BBCAN should consider all we stand to lose if our friends in the north close up shop.

The live feeds are often mundane, especially in the back half of the season when there are fewer houseguests, who are all naturally feeling the effects of the experience. Like baseball, Big Brother is a game not defined by constant excitement, but those little moments where a spark ignites, and you remember why you fell in love with this thing that so many fail to understand. Anyone who’s ever watched a flip come together in real-time knows the sheer power of the live feeds to set this game apart from anything else out there.

The sun is setting on traditional network television. The streaming era offers seemingly endless entertainment possibilities, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the power of communal experiences. Much as the world has changed over the past twenty years, Big Brother has always been there to give us all a distraction from the outside world, a sport fit for the underdogs with a hunger to compete in a game that calls for broader talent than sheer athleticism.

Big Brother is a beautiful game. Big Brother Canada has often represented the apex of the format’s sheer power to excite and delight. The absence of the live feeds threatens to render the game indistinguishable from all the other reality shows out there. I’ll still watch Big Brother Canada 11 because I feel the producers have earned my respect as a viewer after a decade of delivering some of the best reality television in the world. For the future of the game we all love, I hope they reconsider this decision that poses a very real existential threat to its survival. Big Brother without the live feeds is not Big Brother.



July 2022



Kevin Jacobs, Big Brother Canada 10

Written by , Posted in Blog

On the eve of Big Brother 24, we are absolutely delighted to welcome Kevin Jacobs, winner of Big Brother Canada 10, to the show. Kevin played a subtlety dominant in the BBCAN house, shaping the trajectory of the game without ever besting a Head of Household competition, becoming the first winner to pull of that feat since the iconic Dr. Will Kirby back in BB2.


Kevin shares his extensive knowledge of game theory, navigating the murky waters of the early game to survive a week one eviction, steering clear of the carnage wrought by BBCAN10’s multiple seven-person alliances, and forging the Crash Test Dummies alliance that took center stage down the stretch. Ian throws in some Kant for good measure.

Past seasons of Big Brother Canada are available on Paramount+. Canadian viewers or viewers with one of those things called a VPN can get a taste of the delicious BBCAN10 action at https://www.bigbrothercanada.ca/

You can follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinTedJacobs or Instagram @kevintedjacobs

Production still courtesy of Big Brother Canada & Global Television Network



April 2022



Kyle Moore, Big Brother Canada 10

Written by , Posted in Blog, Podcast

We are absolutely delighted to welcome Kyle Moore to the show. Kyle’s Head of Household reign in week three of Big Brother Canada 10 will go down as one of the most exciting in BB history, a botched backdoor attempt on Josh Nash that resulted in an epic house flip. Kyle found himself evicted by key ally Steven “Gino” Giannopolous in a similar backdoor effort the following week.

Kyle talks about his experiences in the game and his thought process during his time as HoH, an extensive perspective on the challenges of strategizing within the BB CAN house. Ian & Kyle also talk about mental health and how mindfulness plays into the rigors of the game. TTTE fans will also enjoy a Theodore Tugboat reference at the end of the episode, a beloved figure in Kyle’s native Halifax.


Ian’s article on BB CAN, which has a heavy emphasis on Kyle’s HoH week: https://ianthomasmalone.com/2022/03/big-brother-canada-is-the-best-reality-show-on-television-right-now/

Kyle hosts the Life’s a Wreck Podcast, which focuses on mental health. You can check out Life’s a Wreck here or wherever you get your podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/lifes-a-wreck/id1471732336

Kyle also has a clothing line, Better Tømørrøw, which he wore many times throughout his tenure in the BB CAN house. You can pick up your own Kyle merch at: https://www.bettertomorrow.world/


Headshots courtesy of Kyle Moore

Production still courtesy of Big Brother Canada & Global Television Network



March 2022



Big Brother Canada is the best reality show on television right now

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture, TV Reviews

Most successful reality television works best when operating in the realm of mindless escapism, beautiful people doing terrible things to each other in luscious locations. Big Brother stakes its territory out in the pages of Foucault’s seminal classic Discipline & Punish. The Panopticon comes to life within the confines of the Big Brother house, where the world can tune at any hour of the day to watch a bunch of strangers stuck together with nothing to do but stab each other in the back.

Season 10 of Big Brother Canada followed shortly after the conclusion of the third season of the American Celebrity Big Brother, a golden opportunity for those of us who felt more than a bit underwhelmed by the poor quality of play in CBB, where many of the contestants barely understood what show they were on, leaving themselves easy marks for winner Miesha Tate and her primary ally, runner-up Todrick Hall. Big Brother is anything but easy, months of isolation from the outside world, unstable nutrition, and terrible sleeping conditions.

The Big Brother Canada house sets itself apart from other iterations of the show with its commanding beauty. Canada gives its houseguests significantly more space than its neighbors to the south, the season 10 buildout looking like a postmodern casino warehouse pop-up. With plenty of rooms to plot schemes, “BB Can,” as it’s affectionately referred to, manages to keep the drama elevated without the sense of claustrophobia favored in other versions. 

There have been more than 500 different seasons of Big Brother across the world since the show’s launch in 1999. Patterns tend to develop with that kind of longevity, even putting aside the fact that the American and Canadian versions follow a different set of rules than the rest of the world. The jocks of the house tend to align early on, making easy targets of the lone wolves, people of color, and LGBTQ people. Efforts to introduce a more inclusive cast of houseguests haven’t done all that much to fundamentally alter the status quo of this reality.

What sets Big Brother Canada apart from its American counterpart is the relentless way its houseguests actually engage in the game. It’s easy for the flow of the house to feel inevitably pointed in one direction, where the strongest competition players are able to control the tempo until the time comes for them to turn on each other. Twists rarely happen early on.

Season 10 of Big Brother Canada delivered some of the juiciest drama in BB history, just in its third week. Head of Household Kyle Moore sat pretty on top of his alliance, the wind at his back. HoH Icarus took one look at the sun and decided to take his chance to cement his reign as one for the ages. In a game where no one should trust anyone, Kyle began to target his own alliance for no apparent reason.

Tolstoy wrote with great skepticism about the power of generals to use their sheer force of will to conquer throughout War and Peace. Reality spares little time for the whims of men who sit in cushy chairs far removed from the action. The proletariat houseguests are used to falling in line, lest they find themselves next on the chopping block, but emperors cannot simply force their will into existence.

Kyle reaping the fruits of his disastrous HOH run. Courtesy of Big Brother Canada live feeds.

Big Brother Canada finds such beauty in the simple mechanics of the game. Kyle initially nominated Stephanie Paterson and Moose Bendago, both key allies, for eviction. When Moose won the Power of Veto competition, Kyle saw a chance to go down in history by turning his fire on another ally, Josh Nash, widely viewed as one of the strongest competitors in the game. The seeming inevitability of Josh’s fate came up against his sheer force of will to stay. Campaigning for his life, Josh pulled off a stunning upset in the eviction ceremony, a 9-2 vote that sent a visibly shocked Stephanie home. Season 10’s eighth episode seems destined to go down as one of the most thrilling episodes in the entire franchise’s long and storied history.

How often is reality TV capable of genuine excitement? BB live-feed diehards find joy in the often-mundane nature of the game. Big Brother is a marathon, not a sprint, but for large chunks of the time, it can barely feel like much of an actual competition. That’s where Big Brother Canada distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack. The houseguests came not merely to survive Big Brother, but to play Big Brother. 

A game based on treachery and deception deserves houseguests willing to perpetually sharpen their knives. Big Brother Canada is vastly superior to its American counterpart through its commitment to engaging in the ugliness of humanity’s baser instincts. Americans aren’t used to being bested in the reality-TV category, but our neighbors to the north certainly have us beat on this front. BB diehards should not sleep on this amazing season.