By Casey S. Elliott
A forensics team member and Ohio University student is hoping that his careful preparation and a natural gift for gab will help him win this season's "Big Brother" show.
Ohio University senior and education major Ronnie Talbott, 30, is one of 12 "house guests" on the show, which starts tonight on CBS.
The reality show, in its 11th season, has contestants live in the Big Brother House, where they are isolated from the outside world -- no television or other communication devices are allowed, yet they are under the constant watch of house cameras. The goal is to avoid eviction -- house guests regularly vote least-popular members out of the house -- with the last guest winning a $500,000 prize at the end of the season in September.
"He has loved that show from the very first season," said Talbott's mother, Charlene Talbott. "This is a dream come true for him. He was so excited when they gave him that house key. He's been trying to get on the show for four years."
Talbott plans to use skills he honed as a member of the forensics team at Ohio University to avoid eviction.
"He plans to be very strategic in his approach," said Dan West, the John A. Cassese Director of Forensics. "We talked about the strategy. He analyzed the last 10 seasons of the show, and looked at what works and what doesn't. He found that people have a lot of problems when they take things personally."
Talbott had to go through multiple interviews to be selected as a guest, West and Charlene Talbott said. Those interviews occurred in Columbus, Cleveland, Memphis, Tenn., and Los Angeles.
Talbott, a Belpre resident who transferred to Ohio University from Marshall University in West Virginia, plans to be a high school teacher after he graduates this year. His wife, Michelle Dye Talbott, is a teacher at Parkersburg South High School.
Talbott has a variety of interests that range from acting to teaching.
"Ronnie is a very gregarious, very outgoing person," Charlene Talbott said. "Ever since he was a young person, he gravitated to a variety of personalities. His friends and associates range from athletic jocks to geeks."
Charlene Talbott said in addition to being on the forensics team, Talbott has also participated in community theater productions.
Charlene Talbott said the family will be having a Big Brother party this evening to watch Talbott on the show. The show starts tonight at 8 p.m. on CBS.