Brother bother

DIRECTOR LAURENTI “Lauren” Dyogi laughs off speculations that he is the voice of Big Brother on the popular but controversial reality show on ABS-CBN. “That’s not possible,” says Dyogi. “The person who is the voice of Big Brother ...

By Aprylle Liabres (Contributor)

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Published: Wed 4 Jul 2007, 11:05 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:10 AM

has to stay in the Big Brother house for at least 12 hours a day (to watch what’s going on with the housemates) to be able to comment properly on the show. With the kind of schedule I have, I’m never there for long.”

Dyogi, a Broadcast Communications graduate of the University of the Philippines, heads the ABS-CBN Business Unit that is in charge of the network’s reality shows, particularly those which are co-produced in cooperation with the Dutch firm Endemol. These include the talent search Pinoy Dream Academy and all the editions of Big Brother. The Philippines has had four so far: the first season, the Celebrity Edition, the Teen Edition and Season Two.

Because of his job, Dyogi always finds himself on the firing line of controversy. During Pinoy Big Brother’s first season, he was accused of favouring Cassandra Ponti, Uma Khouny and Sam Milby. People claimed that he let them join even without auditioning because he favoured them and wanted them to win. “Not one of them did,” he says in his defence, although Uma and Cass did make it to that season’s Big Four, along with Jayson Gainza and eventual Big Winner Nene Tamayo.

Pinoy Big Brother Season Two’s controversies pale in comparison to what he went through during the first season, says Dyogi. “It was harder then, because during Season One, I was new to this whole thing. I didn’t know what to expect.”

Season Two will stand out in his memory as the season that he was accused of favouring housemate Wendy Valdez. The 24-year-old commercial model and actress wannabe was evicted, but then sent back in again along with four other ex-housemates in what Dyogi calls a “Balik-Bahay” challenge. One of the more outspoken housemates, Wendy had her share of detractors from the start — but it was this that got viewers really incensed and sent a mountain of hate mail and angry posts on Internet forums and message boards raining down on Dyogi and the PBB staff.

Dyogi says the concept of a “Balik-Bahay” is nothing new. “It was an element presented [to us] by Endemol. Basically, it’s a modification of the wildcard concept, which has also been used on other reality shows. Erik Santos was a wildcard entry on Star in a Million, and yet he ended up winning the contest.”

He has been accused of using the “Balik-Bahay” concept just so he could get Wendy back into the house because he wants her to win. Some of the attacks have become personal, insinuating that there is something going on between Wendy and the very much married director. “If I were to take (those rumours) seriously, I’ll feel bad,” admits Dyogi. “But that was the risk I took when I got involved with this kind of show. It’s all in a day’s work.”

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