Officially, the first episode aired on June 1, 2005. However, today marks the 10th anniversary of the day the producers brought us through the front gates of the mansion and turned on the cameras.
My blog entry from January 6th that year was about getting the call that I’d be flying out to L.A. the following weekend, Jan. 13-16. Most people went home straight from the hotel on Sunday. Those of us who stayed got into a van the next morning and rode in many, many circles until we finally arrived at what would become our not-so-humble abode for the next two and a half weeks. Well, that long for the ones who made it to the final episode. The rest of us who lost in the elimination room left the house immediately (yes, immediately—I accidentally left my shaver in the bathroom and never saw it again), spent the night in a hotel, then flew home the next day.
One of my favorite memories from the first day was when they filmed us seven guys coming up the driveway in two Mini Coopers. They wanted me to drive the one in back, but I’ve never been any good with a stick shift, so they put Bill behind the wheel instead (he was the Vice-President of the Dukes of Hazzard Fan Club, so that seemed more appropriate anyway, if you ask me). I don’t recall which one of us was responsible—we were both sitting in front—but one of us totally screwed up one of the takes because we cranked up the radio as we headed up the driveway. The director did not approve.
Many, many fond memories… and some really shitty ones, too… but reflecting back on it after a decade, I’m still glad I was picked to be on the show. If nothing else, it taught me to look more carefully in the bathroom when I’m packing my stuff to go home.