Is ‘Big Brother’ ignoring a budding gay showmance?

Fans want to know why 'Big Brother' isn't showing Frankie and Zach's canoodling on air. 


Rae Votta

Internet Culture

Published Jul 4, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 12:31 am CDT

Reality show romances, otherwise known as showmances, are staples in the genre as a way to stir up drama, solidify alliances, and titillate viewers. But why is one of the juiciest and most fan-supported showmances on this season’s Big Brother happening off TV?

Big Brother contestants Frankie Grande and Zach Rance have been getting more than cozy on the reality show’s 16th season, airing now on CBS. The two men are part of a strong alliance of mostly male contenders, but have also made a Final Two pact with each other. They’ve been spotted snuggling in beds, draped around each other, checking out each other’s backsides, and talking about masturbation and lubrication. There’s just one catch—all of this flirtation hasn’t made it to air.

Big Brother runs 24/7 livestreams of house activities, and fans watch and analyze every move as they try to determine who will be evicted next. They also pick favorites (or pairs of favorites in this case). Fans have already dedicated blogs to the duo and are shipping the pair, even if the mainstream viewers have no clue there’s a potential showmance brewing between the two men.

I’ve been stalking bb fan pages on here and tumblr and watching zankie vines over and over I need sleep and I NEED HELP

— ♡ emily (@emilyyyxo) July 4, 2014

omg i am shipping it wayyyy too hard #zankie #bb16

— ☽louis tomlinson☾ (@untidylou) July 4, 2014

The lack of incorporation into the televised show is, of course, rubbing fans the wrong way. Big Brother doesn’t shy away from focusing on romances, and there’s more than enough footage of the duo getting cozy around the house and forming a pact to make a plot point. There’s even footage of another pair of contestants talking about the situation, and Zach, who hasn’t declared a sexuality on the show, apparently told one housemate that he wanted to sleep with Frankie (in coarser terms).

That’s pretty juicy material ripe for inclusion on the main show. So what gives? Is Big Brother shying away from a gay showmance on air, or are they just saving it in hopes that things heat up later in the season between the two for a big reveal? Or do they just think the pair is bromantic instead of romantic and thus less interesting to the mainstream viewers? Regardless of motivation, fans are already frustrated that none of their canoodling is making the air.

“The fact that they still haven’t given Zankie any airtime is infuriating tbh. Like they could totally use it as a big plot device this season, especially given Frankie Grande’s huge following on and off the show. And it’s not like they’d be short of any footage,” complained Tumblr user dehltreice

“It’s not even just the showmance. zack and frankie made a final two deal. that’s HUGE. if it was anyone else, i guarantee you they’d show it. so why not frankie and zack?,” said Tumblr user sansa-swifts. “Because it’s gay. the answer is because it’s gay.”

The fervor for the pair might be more than just their handsy nature in front of the cameras. Frankie is a YouTube celebrity in his own right, and also the older half-brother of pop sensation Arianna Grande. She’s been tweeting her own fans directly about her brother’s involvement on the show and managing his social media while he’s locked away in the house. This has lead to adorable interactions with Zankie fans wanting to know Arianna’s opinion on the matter. 

a little bit yes hahah. it’s cute. gotta pass the lil sis test tho – 👩 “@odalissaxx: @FrankieJGrande do you ship #zankie?”

— Frankie James Grande (@FrankieJGrande) July 4, 2014

Even Arianna is aware, Big Brother. Time to let this showmance shine on TV.

Screengrab via BigBrother/YouTube

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*First Published: Jul 4, 2014, 3:14 pm CDT