Life after 'Big Brother' begins for contestants

LOS ANGELES - Is there life after ''Big Brother?''

That's the question facing contestants who spent weeks away from civilization as houseguests of the CBS reality show.

From marriage proposals to job searches, the contestants now will find out what life on the outside has in store for them. If the experiences of the castaways from the network's more successful reality show ''Survivor'' are any guide, the houseguests will have to deal with some newfound fame.

The 88-day endurance test ended Friday with Eddie McGee, the blunt New Yorker who lost his left leg to cancer, winning the top prize of a half million dollars. The only plans McGee admitted to was ''having a real great holiday season.''

McGee outlasted nine other contestants who entered the specially built house July 5 where their every move was followed by cameras and microphones, with the frequently dull results airing as often as six nights a week on CBS.

Californian Josh Souza won $100,000 as the second-place finisher, and New York lawyer Curtis Kin won $50,000.

Jamie, a former Seattle beauty contest winner and one of the last to leave the house, said she was amazed to learn how viewers had bonded with the group inside. Since returning to the real world just days ago, she said, she has fielded a dozen marriage proposals.

Like many of the contestants, she wouldn't reveal her last name.

At a celebration attended by all 10 contestants after the show ended, George, known for his outlandish costumes, came dressed as a chicken, his hair dyed orange and hoping to parlay his stint on the show into a job.

Former houseguests Brittany and Karen said they have remained close after being booted off the show and have both auditioned for several acting roles. There was no word Saturday if they had landed any parts.

Jordan, who was once an exotic dancer, is writing a book on feminism.

The castaways from ''Survivor'' have signed book and film deals, earned TV acting parts and walked down the red carpet at the 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Some have even filmed commercials promoting CBS shows and co-hosted ''Live with Regis!''

But ''Big Brother'' publicist Diane Ekeblad said the shows' contestants are very different from those on ''Survivor,'' and their desires - and the success of those desires - ''varies from person to person.''

''It's still a little early to tell,'' she said. ''Now that the show is over, we will be learning more.''

Along with the glory, reality-based show contestants must also be able to handle the sometimes unflattering publicity as one contestant already learned.

Ousted ''Big Brother'' contestant Karen Fowler made news when she filed for legal separation from her husband, less than two weeks after viewers voted her off the program. She also said she moved to California because of negative comments about her in the Columbus, Ind., community and in the media.


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