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CBS braces for possible "Big' walkout

Published Sep. 27, 2005

The producers of CBS' reality series Big Brother are hastily putting together a contingency plan in case all six housemates decide to bolt during tonight's live show.

During the weekend, the people living inside the Big Brother house all agreed to walk off the show. But Monday it appeared producers may have quelled such an effort.

Still, talk of a mass exodus has producers trying to figure out how to handle such an incident.

"This is something that was really being brewed up quickly," said the producers' spokesman, Eddie Michaels. "It hasn't happened in the other houses." (The format has aired in a number of countries in Europe.) "There would be some obviously drastic moves to take place."

Big Brother revolves around 10 people living in a house where their every move is captured by cameras and microphones. Until now, the group nominated at least two members for banishment every two weeks, with viewers then getting one week to choose who gets kicked out.

Six participants remain, and they all seem to be getting along _ almost too well. The producers, though, have been attempting to spice things up. Last week they offered $50,000 to get one contestant to leave the house so they could add a new housemate.

Ratings for the show have been good for CBS, which is drawing younger audiences who rarely watch the network.

The exit plan was hatched by inhabitant George after finding out from Josh that his wife was coordinating efforts outside the home to have him win.

CBS and production company Endemol Entertainment do have a few options should the group band together and leave tonight.

When the original cast was set, 10 alternate housemates also were selected. It's possible, though unlikely, to continue the show with six alternates. It's also CBS' option to halt the series. Just two weeks remain, and the network has had contingency plans to replace the show if ratings plummeted.

If the housemates do walk, it will be a first for any versions of the series.

"Clearly this idea was a unique one for the American house," Michaels said. "But if thought about, which I think most of them did, it seemed pretty silly."