The biggest backstabbing villain at "Big Brother" isn't Ariana Grande's brother, Frankie -- or any of the other contestants -- it's the CBS honchos who run the voting ... according to a new lawsuit.
A guy named Edwin Lyda claims he invented the system for text message voting and says he holds the patents to that system. He claims CBS jacked his invention and uses it each week on BB.
On the show, viewers vote in various ways -- by telephone, online, with a phone app or text messaging. The votes don't determine who stays or goes ... it's for things like who should win bonus prizes or who should get special perks in the house.
Lyda says his system for text voting is a big part of the show ... he wants a court to decide how much of BB's millions he's entitled to get ... then again, he could get nothing.
We called CBS for comment ... so far no word back.
Ariana Grande's Brother
Reveals My Sister's Famous
And So Am I
8/10/2014 7:38 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Ariana Grande's brother revealed who he REALLY IS to his "Big Brother" castmates ... in the most bizarre and Grande-ose way possible.
Frankie Grande made the confession on the live feed -- that he's not only Ariana Grande's bro but also a BIG STAR in his own right and head ... and it wasn't received well.
His delivery makes him incredibly unlikeable ... but it's all part of a play to stay in the house and win $500K.
You gotta watch the video ... he's so famous it hurts ... or so he says.
'Big Brother Israel'
The Show Continues ...
With Bomb Shelters
7/30/2014 7:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Big Brother Israel" house guests have MUCH more to worry about than eviction -- producers have them running into a bomb shelter when the violence between Israel and Palestine gets particularly dangerous.
The show has not stopped production since fighting escalated earlier this month, and has actually installed alarms in the house that alert house guests to seek shelter. They sounded twice during the first week of use.
In one instance, contestants were seen scrambling throughout the house and into the safe area.
It's a clear relaxing of the rules that normally cut off contestants from the outside world -- but clearly a necessary change.
Jocasta's Sister RIPS Frankie
For 'Go Kill Yourself' Comment
7/29/2014 3:44 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The sister of "Big Brother" contestant Jocasta Odom is tearing cast member Frankie Grande to shreds ... for saying Jocasta "can kill herself."
Frankie's back stab stung hard ... because Jocasta -- a pastor -- just performed a memorial service for his recently deceased grandfather.
Maranda Chelsea, Jocasta's sis, tells TMZ, "It was an ignorant statement and the little respect I had for him just went out the window." And the parting shot, "It shows the lack of maturity he has."
Miranda isn't the only one pissed off -- so are the fans ... @JrAguja1997 tweeted "I don't f**king care if your sister sings good, you're a s**tty person Frankie. Calling Jocasta to kill herself. Argh."
Whatever sympathy Frankie had built up this past week has now quickly gone away ... and it only took 13 seconds of footage to do it.
'Big Brother' Contestant's G-Ma
There's No Curse
I'm Not in Fear For My Life
7/26/2014 11:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
People die in threes ... so the urban legend goes ... but the grandma of "Big Brother" contestant Amber Borzotra is fearless -- despite the fact grandparents of two other contestants died this week.
Producers broke the news to Frankie Grande -- Ariana's bro -- about their beloved grandpa. And Friday night house guest Derrick Levasseur got similar bad news.
Nonetheless ... 64-year old Iris Beverly isn't nervous -- and same goes for her 67-year old husband. She tells us, "We don't believe in curses, when God calls my name I will go."
Beverly adds, "Them dying is a tough coincidence, but he stays healthy walking and I'm a professional piddler."
We made calls to the grandparents of some of the other contestants, but there was no answer.
Quarantine Broken Again …
Derrick's Grandpa Dies
7/25/2014 9:10 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
For the second time in days, a "Big Brother" houseguest got shocking news from the outside world about a family member's death -- this time it was Derrick Levasseur's grandfather.
On tonight's live feed, houseguest Derrick was handed a note from producers -- like Frankie Grande on Wednesday evening -- and learned of the death in his family.
It's eerie … Derrick purposely lost the Head of Household competition on Thursday so Frankie would get a chance to see photos of his grandfather who died on Tuesday.
Derrick shared his news with Frankie in the house tonight … and said his family isn't as close. He said he wasn't planning to leave the house for the funeral on Sunday.
As we told you … it is extremely rare for producers to break the 'BB' house quarantine even once in a season.
Former Contestants Split
Over Telling Frankie
7/24/2014 11:07 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Big Brother" showdown: 2 former, famous contestants squaring off over whether producers should have told Frankie Grande about his grandfather's death.
RACHEL REILLY, Winner, Season 13. Producers had an obligation to tell Frankie. Death trumps show rules.
SPENCER CLAWSON, Contestant, Season 15. Horrible move by producers. It opens Pandora's Box. What happens next ... say a contestant's son has to be put under anesthesia. Tell or don't tell?
Watch the video. They actually both make compelling points.
So, we gotta ask ...
Frankie Grande Gets the News His Grandpa Died
7/23/2014 6:50 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Big Brother" producers broke the news to Ariana Grande's brother late Wednesday that his grandfather passed away -- and the whole 'BB' house is rallying around him.
TMZ broke the story earlier today ... Frankie Grande's grandpa died on Tuesday, but Ariana obeyed his final wish -- to let Frankie continue on 'BB" despite his illness.
But this evening producers passed a note to Frankie from his family ... which revealed the sad news.
According to bloggers watching the 'BB' live feed -- Frankie broke down in tears and shared the news with everyone else in the house. Some of the other house guests are crying too.
Frankie's grandfathers death has hit Zach. Zach is crying in the lounge alone. Zach: "This sucks!" #BB16— BigBrotherLeak (@BigBrotherLeak) July 24, 2014
It's extremely rare for "Big Brother" producers to break quarantine and allow contestants to get news from the outside world. One of the only times we can remember it happening is for 9/11.
Still unclear at this point who made the final call in this case. We've reached out to producers ... but, so far no word back.
Ariana Grande Hides Grandpa's Death
From Brother Frankie
7/23/2014 9:39 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Big Brother" is now keeping a deep secret -- something that could derail the show if revealed too soon -- and it involves the death of one of Ariana Grande's relatives.
Ariana's grandfather died Tuesday. He's also the grandpa of Ariana's brother, Frankie Grande, who's a contestant on "Big Brother."
It seems just before he died the grandfather knew Frankie might bail from the show if he found out, so one of grandpa's last wishes was to keep his death a secret from Frankie.
Ariana was chronicling her grandpa's illness ... recently posting pictures with him in the hospital. But Frankie never saw them per the rules of the show.
Ariana made her grandfather's wishes clear, tweeting, "asked grandps last week if he wanted us to pull frankie off bb & he said "no way! he's gotta play the game even tho i don't understand it"
It seems from the "Big Bro" live feeds ... Frankie is still in the dark over his grandpa's death.
7:00 PM PT -- Producers just told Frankie about the death.
'Big Brother' Castmember
Family Comes to His Defense ...
He's Not Racist!!!
6/25/2014 11:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Big Brother" did so well with an alleged racist last season ... they're doing it again, but this time the family of a man who made racial and homophobic slurs has come to his defense.
Caleb Reynolds -- one of the new "Big Bro" housemates -- called Prez Obama a "Muslim monkey" and he also used a homophobic slur, but his family 86'd his entire Instagram account after a torrent of criticism.
But Reynolds' family members tell TMZ ... Caleb is being judged for something he wrote two years ago, not long after he returned home from a tour in Iraq. His brother tells us, "A racist man doesn't fight next to a black man for this country."
A friend of Caleb's ... who is black ... also posted a video on YouTube this week defending Caleb.
"Big Brother" premieres tonight. Ratings went up dramatically after Aaryn Gries went on a racist rant last season. We'll see what happens this time around.
By the way ... there's no way CBS didn't know about this ... they do background checks on all contestants for reality shows and scour social media.
'Big Brother' Winner
I Got Hit By a Car
... I Think
4/19/2014 10:57 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Big Brother" Season 8 winner Evel Dick Donato is convinced a car SMASHED INTO HIM Friday night in Ireland ... and his injuries look really, really bad.
Dick posted a photo on Twitter last night showing his messed up face with the caption, "Pretty sure I got hit by a car, but I have no memory of what happened... at all."
The next morning, Dick began to recall what went down and said he was biking home after drinking at a bar in Dublin -- when suddenly, he was being woken up on the side of the road by a cab driver.
Dick refused medical treatment ... but the next morning promised his followers he'd get checked out.
The reality star -- who won a $500k grand prize in 2007 -- swears he didn't just get into a drunken bar fight ... but not going to a hospital immediately after being run over by a car sounds pretty dumb.
'Big Brother' Star
I Wanna Do Playboy!!!
4/2/2014 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Big Brother" star GinaMarie Zimmerman is certainly at home in front of the cameras, and now she wants to pose naked for them ... Playboy's cameras, to be exact.
The former pageant coordinator -- who was famously booted from her job after her racist comments on the show -- tells TMZ her new goal is to be in Playboy. Zimmerman says all her friends feel she's too old to do it, but she's determined to make it.
Check out the pics, then decide for yourself ...
'Big Brother' Champ
Hit With $10.5 Million Judgment
3/22/2014 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Big Brother" champ Mike "Boogie" Malin needs to go on "Jeopardy" and win more than 3 times what Ken Jennings scored ... just so he can pay off an enormous court judgment.
The Boogie man was just socked with a $10.5 MILLION judgment ... which is what happens when you stiff your landlord for 8 years.
Boogie and his partner opened an ATL restaurant -- Geisha House -- along with a nearby bowling alley. But they forgot one small detail on the first of every month ... something that generally gets you evicted very quickly.
For some reason the landlord was patient ... lying in wait for the tab to go sky high. The boom was lowered with the $10.5 million judgment.
By the way ... Boogie has all sorts of legal woes. He was sued by some of his Geisha partners for allegedly embezzling money and using it for gambling and sex.