Fans of Big Brother may not recognise his face, but they sure will recognise his voice.
Comedian, actor and voiceover guy Mike Goldman, held the position of Big Brother narrator from 2001-2014, and while he may not have the task this time around, he’s not entirely sitting this this season.
Named as the new host for 7News.com.au digital series The Big Bro Show, the online “made for fans” show will cover the drama, laughs, controversies, romances, fights, and evictions.
“The Big Bro Show is a way to keep my 20-year record intact,” Goldman told TheLatch— in an exclusive interview.
With the return of the TV series, Goldman thinks that the new pre-recorded format is the best decision for the franchise.
“I think Channel 9 dropped the ball and didn’t do it in the last series,” he admitted. “It was something that they were looking at because it was very successful in Canada and the US and about 15 other countries. I think they wanted everyone to hate each other on the last series of Channel 9, and it was also on a different time-slot so they kind of messed up there.”
Here he talks to TheLatch— about his predictions for the new series and why the new format is genius.
Anita Lyons: Hi Mike, this is pretty exciting for me. I had a “Big Brother party” when I was 14 years old, for the finale of the first season! So, I have to know, what was it like working on the very first series almost two decades ago?
Mike Goldman: Oh God! I can’t remember that far back. Was I even there?
AL: Yes, you were… [laughs].
MG: I was about 28-years-old, doing the voiceover for the show and I was also the crowd warm-up guy.
The crowd warm-up guy was supposed to fly in from Melbourne but he couldn’t do the first show. I overheard someone saying that and I went ‘hey, let me do it!’ and they said, “have you ever done it before?” and I said, “Yeh, I’ve been doing it heaps.” I had never done it, but it went really well, so they got me to keep doing it.
Any of the live shows including my own shows Friday Night Live and Big Brother Up Late, I would work the crowd and then get back up there and do the show. But then I got sick of that and they let me have my own warm-up guy.
AL: Big Brother was such a groundbreaking series for its time. Why do you think it was so popular, especially in the early days?
MG: It was the first show of its kind. There had never been anything like it. It disgusted a lot of people, shocked a lot of people and I still don’t think there is anything like it.
What other show films people 24/7 and hopes that something happens? Then you just watch these relationships and all of these horrible situations that people are in — and that Big Brother has put them in — and see how they deal with them.
Someone hooks up with someone else and then they get close to them, and then somebody better suited to them is sent in, just to see what will happen. It’s the greatest human experiment ever.
“It was the first show of its kind. There had never been anything like it.”
AL: What did you learn from being part of the original series?
MG: It was more how production is run. I actually got to do everything on the show, from the hosting side to the voiceover side and figuring out the structure of storylines and putting together a reality TV show.
On a personal side, I made some great relationships and in this industry, it’s more about relationships than it is about getting the next job.
I’ve got so many good friends in the industry that I’ve worked with over the years and up to this point in my life, where, if I can do a show where I get to work with friends or family and create something amazing, then that’s what I am aiming for now
AL: There were so many memorable moments from the past seasons, including the disgusting “turkey slapping” incident. What was your most memorable moment from working on the show?
MG: I think it’s memorable when someone proposes on the show. Like, we had a gay proposal, Ben and Ben; and a guy who was dealing with the fact that he was homosexual and he came out on national television.
If a girl is dealing with her break-up or there’s a guy and he’s talking about the loss of his father. I think that’s why people watch the show because they can relate to it, and they can say, “oh, that’s something I went through” and “this is how they dealt with it, I’m not alone” because other people are going through the same thing.
To some extent, a lot of them might have had hopes and dreams of being a Hollywood movies star but also, you have people who are in a normal average day job.
AL: You mentioned the new format is great for the show. Why is that?
MG: The new show is taking the best elements of all those other ones from overseas and making it more challenge-based.
It’s more about putting people in really difficult situations and then having them deal with the fact they have to vote each other out. It makes it so much more strategic and so you’ll see people on the show going, “oh Susie over there is really good looking and everyone loves her, so I’m going to vote her off because I want to win $250k.” Then you’ll see that person being nice to their face and then they go into another room and they say “this, this and this and that’s why I want them out!”
The ultimate betrayal!
AL: People love to talk about the “editing” when it comes to reality TV. I’m curious if you think the editing will sway us to see more of certain housemates than others.
MG: The whole editing thing, if you said or did something on camera, you said it, did it. Like, we didn’t put CGI on your face and make you say that you hate someone. I really don’t get it when people say: “I don’t like the way that I was portrayed”. That’s you, that’s your personality. That’s the character and sure if you say or do something 20 times in a day, we’re going to edit it together. For a lot of people, it’s denial rather than self-realisation that they carry on a certain way.
“The whole editing thing, if you said or did something on camera, you said it, did it.”
AL: I feel like the editing will be very reminiscent of Love Island and Survivor which seems to work really well, so I’m excited for Big Brother.
MG: Actually, I had that job as the Love Island voiceover and then they decided they wanted to use the Irish Guy [Eoghan McDermott] because they wanted to sell it to Ireland and the UK.
AL: I can actually imagine you doing that! So, what do you think it’s going to be like for the housemates?
MG: I’m just guessing, but if you look at the promos, you see all of the scaffolding and chains and padlocks on the crates underwater. It looks like ‘Houdini’s escape show’ or something like that.
I can’t believe that they spent this amount of money on these huge constructions. I’m really excited to see what’s going to happen. It’s Friday Night Games on steroids. It’s gonna be pretty, pretty epic.
AL: They’re really going to make them work for that $250k!
AL: How do you think a winner will be determined?
MG: In previous years, it was the funniest person who won and then it was the one that went through the most trouble in their life. Everyone feels sorry for them and they just get to know the character and fall in love with them.
Reggie was a classic example. It’s a girl who has been through a lot, a country bumpkin, ocker Aussie and that’s one of the great things about the show. You can never guess who is going to be the winner. This year, there’s going to be a difference in who will be the winner because it’s how you play the game, how strategic you are.
I think the closest to that we had in the past was Tim Dormer, and that’s why they got him onto Canadian Big Brother.
AL: The housemates this season are operating in a very different era to series past. For example, social media didn’t even exist when the show first aired! How do you think that will impact the nature of the show?
MG: I think it’s going to be completely different. Instagram really only started during the last series of Big Brother and now, people can make a career out of it. I think whoever is running their socials during the show can definitely influence how the Australian public vote at the end.
We want to judge by what they do on the show and not what they do in public.
AL: Do you have any early predictions on who will win, based on the housemates that have been revealed so far?
MG: Well, I don’t know what to expect. But when it comes to the housemates, I think that they’re epic and I’m so excited.
Marissa, the Rankin sister, she’s really used to being up on stage yelling at a crowd of people so I think she’s going to be the one that takes control of the housemates. She’ll be the one that stands up and says “right, everyone listen to me!” She’ll be a loud voice.
And I reckon that Kieran will do as he’s told because he’s 21 and a little nerdy. Then there’s Zoe who is a teacher, is someone who is probably going to be a little bit of a loudmouth too.
The tradie turned model, Chad, I think he will be fairly quiet and let everyone speak up. He’ll probably hook up with Sophie who is the 25-year-old. Sophie seems like a bit of an airhead, so it will be interesting to hear what comes out of her mouth.
Angela is a mum, and she’s used to screaming at her kids. She’s an event manager and is used to organising everyone.
A lot of the people that have been announced are “leaders”, so it will be interesting to see.
I think Marissa and Angela will try and call the shots and when Big Brother puts them in certain situations, they’re going to clash.
I have a feeling they’ve all done their research and at the end of the day, it’s a mind game and they’re going to have to be playing against each other to win the cash.
“Marissa, the Rankin sister, she’s really used to being up on stage yelling at a crowd of people so I think she’s going to be the one that takes control.”
AL: In terms of the housemates, do you think they should receive more counselling after appearing on the show to better integrate back into real life? I know, for example, Ben Norris really struggled after his win.
MG: Yeah, I do. Every year they do it differently. Network 10 had psychiatrists during and after the show, and Channel 9 had theirs. Different production companies come in and I think after 20 years of this show being in existence, from what I’ve heard and seen, they’ve got it down-pat now. Especially in the current day and age. Dealing with mental health and mental health issues is more prevalent than it was 20 years ago, so I think we’re better prepared to help people through the trauma of being on reality TV.
We’re not setting out to make people look like a complete idiot. We’re a show that celebrates people and puts them in different situations to see how they deal with it.
AL: So, now that we’re all caught up on the series, let’s talk about The Big Bro Show.
MG: The show will look at all the goings-on and who’s going out of the house with insightful segments and occasional guests giving their take on the show.
I’ll be doing what I’ve done for the last two decades, delivering Big Brother fans my views and opinions and after being involved that long, I’ve got a few of those!
I will also uncover all the secrets of the Big Brother house even if we have to make them up. We’ll also take it out to the streets and ask fans what they think — so a bit of fun interaction.
You can watch The Big Bro Show at 7News.com.au.