Peek Inside ABC’s New Reality Show, “The Glass House,” with Producer Kenny Rosen


Although it hasn’t even aired yet, ABC’s new reality show, The Glass House, has already gotten a lot of press…perhaps more than its creators anticipated thanks to a lawsuit CBS has brought against ABC in an effort to stop the show that they claim is a little too similiar to Big Brother.

Putting that aside for the moment, the premise of the show is simple: fourteen contestants are put in a glass house peppered with hidden cameras and eliminated one by one based on votes from the American public. But where this show differs from other, similiar shows is the level of control that the voters have over the contestants. The best analogy I can come up with is “The Sims” computer game. If you like having playing god with little people in a dream house, this show is for you.

Recently, TV Equals and several other journalists took a tour of the set, lead by The Glass House’s executive producer, Kenny Rosen. As we wove our way through the passages in the walls and peered through the two-way mirrors, he told us what to expect when the show airs on June 18th.

How Does the Show Work?

Cameras roll in The Glass House 24 hours a day for five days out of the week. During the week, there will be scheduled times when whatever is happening in the house will be streamed live on the internet. For a schedule of those times, as well as to watch the action unfold, go to abc.com.

Every week, two people will be up for elimination, and the person who recieves the least votes will not be allowed back inside. In addition, the contestants will be asked to play games and participate in challenges, all of which are chosen by viewer votes. More so than that, even, viewers will be in charge of who sleeps in what bedroom (there is an “enemy room” where presumably two characters who don’t get along will be forced to live), what food is made available in the house, etc. Their lives are at the whim of America.

Tell Us About the House

Well, it’s no ordinary house, although it is made out of glass. It’s built entirely indoors on a soundstage, allowing the crew to control every aspect of the contestants’ lives. There will be no camera-operators inside the house; all cameras are hidden or placed behind two-way mirrors. Rosen estimates that there are about fifty cameras in total, and all of them feed into the control room where editors and producers are constantly monitoring for storylines and dramatic situations on which to focus.

There is an outdoor arena carpeted with surprisingly soft fake grass; it’s there than the contestants will play the games and challenges that the public chooses for them. The lighting has been set up to be able to simulate day and night, sunrise and sunset.

Who Will Be Living There?

“We have people on here who have real redeeming qualities,” Rosen said. Casting was not based on who would create the most drama, but who would appeal to America. “They’re going to get their clues from the audience,” Rosen said of the contestants. “Just like any reality show, who you truly are, you can’t hide. I don’t think any of our contestants are coming on the show to hide who they truly are.” Unlike most reality shows, the contestants have been able to see bios of their fellow housemates on abc.com for the past couple of weeks; they will, therefore, be able to form preconceptions about each other that will no doubt influence their first few days together.

What About the CBS Controversy?

When asked how the producers were feeling about the attempt to shut down the show, Rosen said, “We are keeping calm and carrying on. I don’t know that worried is the right word; we’ve been distracted a bit, but we’re moving forward and we’re going to have a great show.” Rosen went on, “I think we have a really good game and I think America’s going to dig the control we’re giving them.”

As this article goes to press, it is not yet known whether the show will actually air or not, as no final decision from the court has been handed down. But should ABC prevail, The Glass House will premiere tonight, Monday, June 18th, and I think it’s worth a look. Certainly a lot of time and effort, blood and sweat has gone into making it happen; it would be a shame to see all of that go to waste.