Old School Big Brother Players That Could Have Been Great on The Challenge

Henry L DiMaria
11 min readJul 25, 2022

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Last week I tackled this same topic for Survivor castaways and I thought it was only fitting to do the same with Big Brother houseguests as well.

With the premiere of The Challenge USA and the influx of even more Big Brother houseguests to the franchise there and on the main challenge, it makes me ponder the question: What if they’d brought on people to The Challenge from Big Brother earlier? There was an abundance of personalities on Big Brother who were really popular back in the day and could have been major stars if they made the jump to competing on The Challenge back then. For these Houseguests though, it has been up to 20 years since their Reality heydays, many of them are not in their athletic prime and do not have the same type of dynamic of TV personalities as back then. As a result, the opportunity to see many of them on The Challenge has passed. Regardless, let’s take a look at what could have been if The Challenge began casting Big Brother Houseguests back in the day.

Honorable mentions:

Michelle Costa (Big Brother 10) and Brendon Villegas (Big Brother 12 & 13)

Frank Eudy

Frank came on to Big Brother 14 hot, getting into a lot of drama early and often as well as being a stand-out competitor and winning six different competitions. Notably, Frank won many of them when he had his back up against the wall. Ultimately his run of winning came to an end and he came in 7th place but was still voted the fan favorite. Frank returned for Big Brother 18 where he was initially in the power structure but (partially) due to his abrasiveness, became a house pariah and sent home prejury by his former alliance.

There are several reasons why Frank would have been a good option to go from Big Brother to The Challenge. First of all, is his athleticism which brought him success in competitions on Big Brother. He would have also been good from a drama standpoint since he was constantly getting into fights and drama with the other Big Brother players and would likely bring more of the same on The Challenge. He always wanted to be a decision maker and undoubtedly would have clashed with people by trying to run the game. The only thing holding me back about Frank is he definitely had some problematic behavior, particularly over his treatment of women and minorities in the house.

Amanda Zukerman

Amanda was a great strategic player who practically ran Big Brother 15’s strategy until she was betrayed by the eventual winner at the final five. Additionally, she was a huge personality that was all about the drama and even got into one of the more surprising showmances with the nerdy and lanky pizza delivery boy McCrae. Big Brother 15 was mired in controversy with a number of houseguests, (including Amanda), as there were many racist remarks made on the show. Due to that, producers of that show do not talk about it much and it would be incredibly doubtful to see anybody from that season back on tv.

With that in mind, Amanda was still have been an incredible tv personality who could have been dynamite had she been brought on The Challenge. She was really flirty and likely would have gotten involved in messy hookups on The Challenge. Amanda was also not that bad of a competitor, winning one competition when her back was up against the wall. She was a good strategist that would have definitely made waves to further her and her allies' games.

Jase Wirey

One of the original comp beasts of Big Brother, Jase’s dominant physical ability helped change Big Brother's strategy forever when he was the first player ever “backdoored*” by Nakomis on Big Brother 5. Jase was brought back for Big Brother All Stars where he unsuccessfully tried to play the middle with his game before it blew up in his face and got his sent-out prejury again.

Jase was a huge personality on Big Brother and was always in the thick of things, whether it was his Showmance with fellow contestant Holly or his four horsemen alliance with the three other strong guys. Jase would likely have had messy relationship drama and alliances on The Challenge too. He was a great physical competitor, winning 2 Power of Vetos and 2 Head of Households over the course of Big Brother. Jase also got into drama which would have also been a plus for competing on a show like The Challenge. Finally, Jase, though obnoxious, was always entertaining, whether it was throwing a tantrum in the backyard, obnoxiously hollering and making noises like a barnyard animal during a HOH comp or begging for an alliance using a cardboard sign.

*voted out after being put up for eviction when the veto was used, ensuring that the player does not have a chance to save themselves using a competition

Daniele “Dani” Briones (née Donato)

Danielle was on Big Brother as a part of the big twist for Big Brother 8 where three pairs of houseguests were unknowingly brought on the show with their real-life rivals. In Dani’s case this was her estranged father Dick. She made it all the way to the final two with him, finishing as the runner-up and winning 2 HOHs and 5 Vetos along the way. She later came back for both Big Brother 13 and Big Brother 22, finishing in eighth and seventh place respectively.

On Big Brother 8 Dani was a surprisingly strong competitor and that could have potentially translated well to The Challenge. She also did not shy away from making big moves, particularly when she came back for Big Brother 13. I could’ve seen her do the same on The Challenge. Dani was a beautiful girl and got in showmances on Big Brother, so there would definitely have been an opportunity for that were she to have been on The Challenge.

Bryan Ollie

Ollie was a contestant on Big Brother 10. At first, he was more in the background, especially since season 10 had its cast full of big personalities. But by the end of the game had established himself as one of the bigger players. He used his charm to position himself well in an alliance and he got into a showmance. Unfortunately for Ollie, his alliance got screwed by a twist in the game made and he ended up in the minority. He and his alliance were taken out three in a row.

Ollie does not possess as giant of a personality as many of the other people on this list, but he definitely had his moments. He also was very outspoken about his Christian views with him not smoking, drinking, or cursing and I could have seen that definitely cause tension with others on The Challenge. He thought he could be a mastermind and it blew up in his face. I could have easily seen him try the same kind of manipulative gameplay on The Challenge, which could have been especially interesting since he was athletic. Even though Ollie did not win a competition on Big Brother, he played college football at Iowa State and that could have served him well.

Britney Haynes

One of the most beloved characters of Big Brother, Britney Haynes was first on Big Brother 12 where she got to the final four. She thought that she was in great shape and was under the impression that her allies would send home Enzo and bring her to the final three. However, her alliance then exposed to her that they had actually been playing her the whole season. She later was brought back for Big Brother 14, and for the “Reality Showdown” season of The Amazing Race as well.

Britney could have been great if she had come over to The Challenge. First of all, she was not afraid of getting into conflict with people, most notably her rivalry with Brendon & Rachel. She was a solid competitor, winning four competitions on Big Brother 12. Britney was also a really good social player who made close connections on both seasons of Big Brother and her snarky humor and magnetic personality could have made her popular in a Challenge house. Finally, Britney is one of the absolute best confessionalists in Big Brother history up there with the likes of (former Challenge competitor) Da’Vonne, and considering how well Da’Vonne’s diary rooms from Big Brother translated to great Challenge confessionals, I think Britney could have done the same.

Howie Gordon

Howie was one of the biggest personalities from Big Brother 6, which was one of the most popular seasons. There, he was a fixture in the Sovereign Six alliance but ended being manipulated into taking a shot at his own alliance. This major mistake ended up putting his alliance on their heels and their rival alliance The Friendship finishing on top and Howie eventually finishing in fifth place. He was popular enough that he was one of the contestants voted to return for Big Brother 7, which he made it to eighth place in that game.

Howie was a big loud personality who was both really fit (winning multiple Head of Households on Big Brother 6) but also nerdy, with his constant Star Wars references. He was the kind of guy that could go from lovable goofball to getting into a major blow up with someone at the drop of a hat. He nearly got in a fist fight after he was betrayed on Big Brother 7 and considering the dynamic of a show like The Challenge, he would have been able to win an elimination round and come back with guns blazing. Howie is someone that could have thrived and made an even bigger name for himself there.

Rachel Reily

Rachel Reily is one of the biggest reality tv personalities of all time and she made a huge impact on Big Brother 12. She almost immediately got into a showmance with one of the strongest guys (and her eventual husband), Brendon, which painted a giant target on their backs. She got into fights with practically every other player in the house. She won two head of households but eventually was taken out as the first member of the jury. Rachel was brought right back for Big Brother 13 where she entered the game with Brendon alongside two other veteran dynamic duos. This time it was Brendon who was the first member of the jury which allowed her to put her full attention on the game strategy. Rachel was incredibly successful on her own going on to win that season. Finally, she was brought on to The Amazing Race for three different seasons; twice with Brendon making it to the final three and once with her sister (and fellow Big Brother alumni) Elissa.

At first glance, Rachel has the appearance of someone who would only be there for the drama and mess and not show up athletically. Don’t get me wrong, she absolutely does provide in that department, but Rachel is also an incredibly impressive physical competitor, winning 6 Head of Households and 2 Power of Vetos across Big Brother including winning every single endurance competition she participated in. Rachel could have been incredible on The Challenge just like she was on every other show she has been on and it is a bummer we never got to see her on The Challenge.

Jessie Godderz

Jessie is another two time Big Brother player who was on back-to-back seasons, first appearing on Big Brother 10 where he was an absolute firestarter and a major part of one of the most iconic Big Brother fights of all time “Kiesha Birthday” (watch that here). He went out in tenth place, partially due to the America’s Player twist. Jessie then came right back for Big Brother 11 where he formed a strong alliance early on before ultimately getting screwed again by a twist, this time the Coup d’Etat. He became a big fan favorite, returning many times to host competitions on Big Brother.

Jessie could have been absolute dynamite if he were brought on to The Challenge, both as a physical competitor and, at times, an over the top obnoxious personality. He showed he could win on Big Brother with three Head of Households and a Power of Veto, and his background as a professional bodybuilder only proves his physical prowess. Jessie was also constantly getting into fights with houseguests on Big Brother, and would have likely brought the same energy had he been on The Challenge as well.

Janelle Pierzina

Janelle is perhaps the most well-known Big Brother player of all time; she played the game four times. She made it to the final night on both Big Brother 6 and Big Brother 7 but came up short in third place both times. She later returned for Big Brother 14 as a coach, and most recently on Big Brother 22. She also competed in The Amazing Race with the aforementioned Brtiney who she became friends with while on Big Brother 14.

There are many reasons why Janelle would have been a legend on The Challenge. She was hot and was happy to use her sexuality and flirting to advance her game (like she did when she got into showmances on both Big Brother 6 & 7). Janelle was also loud, dramatic, and great at getting petty which could have been great to see in the context of The Challenge. Finally, she was both smart and a fantastic physical competitor, setting the record for individual competition wins in a Big Brother season with 9. Janelle would have been one of the top female competitors and infinitely entertaining. She is the number one old-school Big Brother I wish we could’ve gotten to see on The Challenge.

For My Survivor Version of this topic click here

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Henry L DiMaria

I blog primarily about The Challenge but occasionally stretch into other reality TV @HenryLDiMaria