STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — In the end, the professor schooled his housemates.
Andy Herren, the 26-year-old professor from Illinois, handily won “Big Brother” Wednesday evening.
In a jury vote of 7-2, Herren beat runner-up GinaMarie Zimmerman to win the show’s prize of $500,000.
For the record, 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).
Affable ginger-haired Andy — he describes himself as “friendly, funny and red” — played a slightly less duplicitous game than some of his housemates.
The single and openly gay public speaking professor is a longtime fan 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 (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 back home after their employers said they found comments they made offensive and hate-filled. GinaMarie wins $50,000 as “Big Brother” runner-up.
A full-fledged and unlikely showmance also bloomed between 28-year-old hard-driving Long Island real estate agent Amanda and 23-year-old low-key long-haired small-town Minnesota pizza delivery boy McCrae.
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 wins $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 (he was only nominated for eviction once), Herren was part of several alliances including “The Goof Troupe,” “The 3 A.M.” and the deviously effective, “The Exterminators” who picked off major players one-by-one. He was also Head-of-Household three times during the summer and won Power-of-Veto twice.
Herren was also a Have-Not three of the first four weeks.
Following his big win, Andy told CBS2′s Entertainment Reporter Suzanne Marques that he hadn’t really thought about what to do with the winning loot.
“I’m going to try to be as careful with it as possible,” he said, “I know people can blow it really easily.”
He said he definitely had “fun” plans for it that would probably include packing some suitcases.
“I want to travel. I’ve never been out of the United States,” Andy said.