LOS ANGELES (CBSMiami) — After three months of round-the-clock drama in the ‘Big Brother’ house, the hit CBS reality show finally crowned a winner. After 90 days in the house, Andy Herren, the 26-year-old professor from Illinois, was crowned the Big Brother winner Wednesday night.
It capped the most controversial season yet with some contestants accused of racist, sexist and homophobic comments.
In a jury vote of 7-2, Herren beat runner-up GinaMarie Zimmerman to win the show’s prize of $500,000.
Andy received his seven jury votes from Spencer Clawson, McCrae Olson, Elissa Slater, Amanda Zuckerman, Helen Kim, Jessie Kowalski and Candice Stewart. GinaMarie was picked by Aaryn Gries and Judd Daugherty.
The single and openly gay public speaking professor is a longtime fan of Big Brother and used his historical knowledge of the program to his advantage.
“Big Brother” has a history, in fact, of casting a varied and diverse group of contestants. Herren becomes the show’s first openly-gay winner.
That diversity was put to the ultimate test this summer. Season 15 was marked with controversy as several contestants, including GinaMarie, were heard uttering racial and homophobic slurs prompting the network to run a disclaimer at the start of the broadcast. GinaMarie and Aaryn, in fact, both lost their jobs after their employers said they found comments they made offensive and hate-filled. GinaMarie wins $50,000 as “Big Brother” runner-up.
Elissa was chosen by fans as “America’s Favorite Houseguest.” Elissa is sister to former “Big Brother” winner and “Amazing Race” contestant Rachel Reilly.
Elissa won $25,000.
“Big Brother” host Julie Chen said Howard Overby and Judd were the other two top vote getters for “America’s Favorite Houseguest.”
During his under-the-radar game play, Herren was part of several alliances including “The Goof Troupe,” “The 3 A.M.” and “The Exterminators.”
He was also Head-of-Household three times and won Power-of-Veto twice.