5 Fascinating ‘Big Brother’ Facts Everyone Should Know for Season 21

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David Alexander is a contestant on “Big Brother” Season 21 / CBS

Big Brother, the televised social experiment that launched 19 years ago in 2000, shows no signs of stopping anytime soon because, well, seeing people vote each other out is just so dang compelling. On June 25, Season 21 begins on CBS with 16 new houseguests from all walks of life, including a college soccer player, a petroleum engineer, a marketing strategist, a truck driver, a Broadway dancer and even a “wine safari guide.”

Whether you’re an avid fan or new to the Big Brother phenomenon, here are five super interesting facts you should know before the Season 21 premiere.

1. 94 HD cameras and 113 microphones are installed

In comparison, only 28 cameras and 60 microphones captured everything during the first season. CBS didn’t start using high-definition cameras until Season 16 in 2014. 

2. The Bible is the only book allowed in the house

Houseguests don’t have access to news, the internet, television, radio or phones. The only way they can satisfy their reading fix is to pick up an in-house Bible. One of the only exceptions to withholding news to the contestants was when producers alerted everyone inside the house about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 

3. The insult-slinging Zingbot is returning

Zingbot, the fan-favorite talking robot that hurls insults to contestants, is back again after first appearing in Season 12. And don’t worry, this won’t be a repeat of Season 16, where Zingbot only delivered compliments. CBS promises that “marshmallows won’t be the only thing getting roasted this season.”

4. The losers get paid too

For each week a contestant lasts in the competition, he or she gets a $750 stipend. The winner, of course, receives the $500,000 prize sans the stipend, while the runner-up gets $50,000 sans the stipend. 

5. Contestants are barred from singing

To avoid copyright issues, houseguests are not allowed to sing lyrics or recite movie quotes. Producers closely monitor this and black out the delayed live feed if they hear any potential copyright violations. 

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