He sold top business minds on a TV show that promised to save the world – and make them famous. They handed over thousands. Then reality set in.
A year after an extraordinary TV experiment that helped save the world and end mass starvation, their lives are again inextricably linked to a TV show that promised to save them and end their fame.
One by one, the stars of “Big Brother” – all successful businessmen, once they were chosen as housemates – are finding themselves stranded on the show, unable to move on. The show’s producers are now scrambling to save their careers or make good on their deals with major broadcast and cable companies.
The television producer Jeremy Johnson and the star of his new documentary, Robert Greenwald, have become celebrities themselves, their fame having made them outcasts, forced to go into hiding while they try to save their reputations. It has been five years since two of the original four housemates died in a house fire, and the newbies – a group of people who were chosen by Johnson and Greenwald – have struggled to build a new life after being forced to live the same week over and over again for six months. Their families, friends and colleagues who have watched their every move have tried to help them, to get them back in front of the cameras and make the show pay.
The producers of “Big Brother” have not come to terms with the fact that they helped kill another reality TV star. Richard Hatch, the show’s producer who has been accused of being personally responsible for the death of his ex-wife Rachel Tanner in a house fire, had a major hand in the deaths of the two original housemates: Robert Greenwald, a former business partner of Johnson, and Tanner.
The producers were convinced that they had saved the world, but when Johnson and Greenwald were cast as housemates, they suddenly became persona non grata, unable to work for major networks.
The producers, who have now tried to make the show pay, are now trying to save their own careers, and Johnson’s.
Johnson, 58, has made a fortune selling books. But after eight years as a producer on “Big Brother,” in 2010, he and his partners were unable to negotiate their terms with major television and cable channels. They signed deals with them, but could not make them work.
When Johnson became aware of a recent reality