Winner Ian Terry explains why he is 'not a fan of modern Big Brother'
Leading up to the season 24 premiere of Big Brother on July 6, EW caught up with 11 former U.S. winners from the show with a set of questions designed to have them look back at their time in the house, as well what life has been like since leaving it. Our fifth entry is with the season 14 winner who returned for a second go-round on Big Brother: All-Stars. (Also make sure to check out our Q&As with Eddie McGee, Derrick Levasseur, Jun Song, and Dan Gheesling.)
He became close with his coach and then savagely orchestrated his blindside. He won four Head of Household competitions and two Vetos. He came up with one of the most… um, memorable alliance nicknames in the annals of reality TV. He was part of the most famous moment in Big Brother history. And he trounced a true legend of the game, Dan Gheesling, 6-1 to secure the half-million dollar prize.
Yes, Ian Terry had quite the run on Big Brother 14, cementing his status. And he then followed that up by being one of only two former champions who returned for Big Brother: All-Stars, making it all the way to the jury, even with a huge target on his back from the get-go. But even though he appeared on a new school Big Brother season, Ian is not necessarily a fan of new school Big Brother, as the Quack Packer revealed in his latest EW Q&A.
The season 14 winner also gets into the season 22 mistakes he did and did not make, reveals which former players he would have liked to match wits with, and explains why some of his friends just can't get into the show. (Hint: It might have something to do with all the unitards.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since last appearing on Big Brother.
IAN TERRY: I'm just back to doing consulting, but at a different company than I was with before the show. Not much has changed since you last saw me a couple years ago — same partner, same city (Houston), same backgammon hobby.
Besides winning, what is your proudest moment from playing Big Brother?
Anytime I saved myself or got saved by someone else in a critical situation in either season. Both times I won Veto on BB14, I didn't know with certainty that I was in trouble, but I definitely felt like I was in shaky territory, and there's no better feeling than having a 100% guarantee that you're through to the next round of play by virtue of winning. When I won the Veto at Final 6 in BB14 and threw the shark fin in the pool — I'll never forget that feeling of total security, especially since the nomination wasn't expected. In the other case, the way I play, I tend to want to link up with strong social players and have them do a lot of the legwork for me socially. As a result, I get saved much more often than the average player would when in bad spots. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and how to mitigate those weaknesses goes a long way in BB.
What is your biggest regret from your Big Brother experience in terms of anything that happened in the house in any of your seasons?
This is very tricky to say. I don't want to touch anything about BB14 and risk changing the outcome, so that's off the table. I think the biggest regret is putting too much stock into the wall yeller on BB22. The main alliance was, from what I read after the show ended, starting to show signs of cracking at that point. This caused me to overplay, and the resulting mess with Bayleigh ended up temporarily galvanizing the Committee for a bit. Additionally, it made me ignore a larger issue in the game (Memphis will always target me, and would've been my target on any pre-wall yeller HoH), and focus on something that wasn't an immediate problem (Cody and Nicole). This was just conceptually bad.
I get tickled a bit reading things like "Why would you not work with this person or that person?" I have no real regrets on this front. The concession I'll give to that criticism is that I should've voted Kevin out in round 1, but this is a very small error in the grand scheme of things, and also goes against a promise I made to myself before I left — I wasn't going to contribute to the elimination of any PoC in the first two rounds so they would have a fair, equitable chance. I also strongly doubt that it would've changed much, unless Keesha's observation, beer sliding, or ball rolling skills are top notch.
What are your thoughts about how you were portrayed on the network episodes of the show?
Generally, very fair. In BB14, I played slightly more aggressively than I should've, but it resulted in me getting a lot of airtime and a nice edit. If you play hard and actively try to get a strong position, you will get a good edit because passive play is boring to watch. Sure, there were times when a Diary Room soundbite would get cut in the middle of me saying something, leaving the viewer without a full explanation, but this is to be expected.
I didn't watch BB22 at all, but my understanding is that I was under-edited. This is also fair. I wasn't exactly thrilled to be there and viewed it as a monotonous job. The moment I got a good look at the full cast, realization set in that my starting position was even worse than I imagined. Not exactly going to have me frothing with enthusiasm.
What are your feelings on the Diary Room and the interviews you would do in there?
I'll be honest: I'm not a fan of modern Big Brother, and a lot of that has to do with the Diary Room sessions. Nothing beats that organic feeling of the Diary Room sessions from the earliest of seasons. Personally, I am very long-winded, so capturing my thoughts in a quick, easy-to-digest soundbite is never going to result in anything getting explained fully. This leaves viewers to connect the dots on their own, often incorrectly. That being said, I am probably in the minority here given the attention span of the typical viewer. The Diary Room production team is very professional and puts together a good show for their audience.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being in the house? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
Both times, I really wanted to get home and have time to myself a bit. I remember everything seeming (physically) very dark and muted both times given how bright the sets are. After BB14, I also recall panicking a few times at home that I didn't have my microphone on. The biggest thing, honestly, is missing that a celebrity or other public figure passed away. I learned of Sally Ride's death skimming Wikipedia years after the fact!
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got out of the house where you regretted going on the show?
Nope. The first time around, the victory and associated prize was just too sweet. The second time around, even though I had a mediocre result, I'm proud of the fact that I still showed up. Not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of representation from other previous winners. I knew going in that my position would likely be a far cry from what returning players typically get in mixed seasons (a known advantage on its own, and then some), and I still showed up.
Beyond that, I did get a kick out of how seemingly everyone predicted that I'd be pre-jury. You could hand me a starting position that's equivalent to a pile of garbage and I'll still probably make it to jury almost every time, just because I understand the underlying mechanics of the game, and I know it. Going on to at least get that far — and only getting snapped off at the halfway mark on about a 35-to-1 shot that I couldn't have tactically prepared for — was, as a backgammon friend put it, "an accomplishment in itself." Of course, the goalposts shifted afterward. [Laughs] At the end of the day, I turned a very bad starting draw into a game that was at least playable and secured the same bag the rest of the jurors got for my troubles.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?
Britney and Frank about once a year. Kaysar, I imagine, will fall into that same group. Also, people are not going to like this, but I still text with Boogie every rare once in a while. I'll never forget the first few hours before we picked teams on BB14 and how I seemed to "vibe with him," as the kids say. I was happy to be on his team and that was obviously a key connection early in the game.
Do you still watch Big Brother and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I don't. Too different from the show I grew up enjoying. BB19 was the final straw for me — I pulled the plug a few weeks in, watched the finale, and never watched another episode. I didn't intend to watch the following Celebrity season, but did when I got invited to be interviewed on stage with a handful of other winners. I figured maybe I'd give BB20 a chance, but read up on it, and it didn't excite me much, so I passed on it. I even gave up on Survivor after the surprise final four fire-making twist was introduced (no issue with the fire making, issue that it was a surprise). I guess I just grew out of the genre altogether.
Hot take, but my favorite is BB5. I often oscillate between this and BB3, but I feel like BB5 got the formula for the game down and was still a largely entertaining season.
Who's one player from another Big Brother season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Danielle Reyes and Eric Stein. Eric deserved to be on All-Stars and it is a shame he wasn't there to play his own game. I even asked production (half-jokingly?) if turning the invite down would mean their list would eventually work its way down to Eric. I would have loved to have paired up with Reyes. As I previously mentioned, I like to link up with someone whose social game is exceptionally strong to make up for my deficits in that area — both fit that bill very well. That being said, a Final 2 with either is likely a losing proposition for me, so I would've had to have tried to cut both toward the endgame.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Big Brother, what would it be and why?
I wish the show took itself more seriously at times. It's a great game, but a lot of my friends were turned off by how silly it was.
What did you do with your prize money from winning the game?
Paid off those student loans and invested in various ways. I never viewed it as "fun money" and got a real job after graduating. I'm proud of the fact I haven't burnt through it like many reality show winners have.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
No. BB22 was an exercise in frustration on just about every level. The direction both BB and Survivor have gone in recent years regarding game structure erodes my edge quite a bit. If I don't enjoy playing, and it's not nearly as juicy a situation as it was in the middle years where the endgame basically fit my skill set exactly, I'm not so incentivized to go. I already earned a title that can never be taken away (and 296 other people wish they had). So, with that, the BB book shuts. I'm certainly open to other games though.
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