ABC's 'The Glass House' lets viewers take the reins

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Reality television brings even more power to those with the remote control with the premiere of ABC's new series, "The Glass House" on Monday, June 18.

Quarried off from the world in a house constructed within another one's roof, this new series takes a spin on "Big Brother" by putting 14 players under complete surveillance in a home, living together with no access to the exterior community (or even sunlight for that matter). This time around, however, viewers control every aspect of the show, from what challenges players face, to who needs an attitude recharge, to who should go home for good.

Zap2It was invited on an exclusive visit to the set Thursday (June 8), where Executive Producer Kenny Rosen revealed the inside tricks to filming his new project, and gave a few insights as to why he believes the show will be a hit.

"I think we have a really good game, and I think America's gonna dig the control that we're giving them because it's going to be immediate and significant," says the producer, who was also behind reality shows "Hell's Kitchen" and "Big Brother 2." "[Viewers] make every decision. They're trimming the player pool, and we've cast the show different than every other reality show I've ever done."

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The show features a range of characters, including a scientist, bail bondsman, police sergeant, cocktail waitress and poet, competing each week in various competitions as suggested and voted on by the audience. Additionally, there will be seven hours a week where audiences can interact directly with contestants via the program's online live stream. 

In his quest for ideal players, Rosen explains, "We're not just casting like hard, dumb people or hard bodies who are there to fight with each other, and pull each other's hair out, and talk smack about each other. We have people on here who have really redeeming qualities because it's really important, for this game to work, that the viewers can get behind the cast and support them and try to carry their players to the end of the game." 

Rosen adds, "Our contestants are coming at it from a completely different perspective than the "Survivors" and "Amazing Races" of the world."

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Despite what appears to be a unique adaptation of the formula, the producer currently finds himself amidst a legal battle with some of his former "Big Brother" colleagues at CBS. The network has filed a lawsuit against the "The Glass House," claiming it violates the copyright of "Big Brother" and requesting that the show be shut down. U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess refused ABC's request to wait until after the show began airing before deciding whether or not to grant CBS's request for a temporary restraining order to stop production on the show, reports Variety on June 9.

For Rosen and his crew, however, progress has not been halted.

"We are keeping calm and carrying on, which is the name of our production company," he comments. "I don't know if 'worried' is the right word. We've been distracted a bit, but we're moving forward. We have a brand new game, a brand new format...The truth of the matter is, long-running reality shows have games that work, and so that's the key to any reality show withstanding the test of time."

"The Glass House" premieres Monday, June 18 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Photo/Video credit: ABC
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