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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chatting with the Donatos from "Big Brother 8"

(AP Photo/HO/CBS)

The Slug didn't see that coming. We definitely thought the "Big Brother 8" jury would give the grand prize to Daniele Donato, not her estranged father "Evel" Dick. What was more interesting than Dick's win, of course, was the look on Jessica Hughbanks' face when it was revealed that Eric Stein had been instructed by America on how to play the game all summer long. After the jump, let's see what the Donatos have to say about their surprising win.

LISTEN: What did Dick really think bout the "America's Player" twist?


The Slug: Congratulations. How does it feel?

Daniele Donato: It feels really really good. We wanted Final Two and that's what we accomplished. Either way, it doesn't matter. We both won. It couldn't have turned out any better.

The Slug: How did your strategies change when you realized you were both in the house?

Dick Donato: We started working together. It was funny because, in the Final Four, both Jameka and Zach asked me when we started working together. I told them: "Remember when we went into the bathroom after the first hour of being in the house? Then." We both started working together immediately. We were both finalists in season six with the secret partner thing. I whispered to Daniele to go back to that kind of strategy and work together. We had something that no one in the house had, which was total and complete trust that we wouldn't turn on each other.

Daniele Donato: The other thing, too, was I remember in the bathroom the first night being there that I was very upset about him being there. I told him I don't know what's going to happen with this — as in our personal life — but I'll have your back, if you have mine, and let's focus on the game 'cause we're both here for a reason.

The Slug: Do you think being in the "Big Brother" house helped reconcile your relationship?

Daniele Donato: I was in the house with all these liars, deceit and manipulation and trying to deal with that on top of working with my dad. We're complete night and day. Personal stuff did come up. It was so hard.

Dick Donato: We had a harder time that anyone else in that house.

Daniele Donato: Yeah, especially on an emotional level. 

The Slug: Daniele, do you think you could've won if your father wasn't in the house?

Daniele Donato: Honestly, I said this numerous times. I don't think I would be in the Final Two if I didn't have my dad to help me. I don't know his opinion, but I don't think he would've been in the Final Two if I wasn't there to help him. It was amazing teamwork. We stuck together. That's how we made it.

The Slug: How would things had gone if Nick had still been in the house?

Daniele Donato: (Laughs.) Oh dear. More fun for me because I hated everyone else in the house. It would've been nice having a friend in the house. It would've been easier to have someone I could talk to and that cared about me and that I cared about rather than all these different people with all these phasads. I wouldn't change anything for the world. It's the butterfly effect. If one thing changed, I might not be sitting in the Final Two.

The Slug: So what happens now with Nick, your boyfriend and your personal life?

Daniele Donato: I don't know what's gonna happen. I just got out of there. There's a lot to talk about. There's a lot to take into consideration. I heard somebody from Minnesota is moving out to Orange County. There's no way I would want to lose contact with Nick. Quite honestly, he's one of the best friends I've ever had. We'll see what happens.

The Slug: So you're saying there's a possibility you'll have a relationship with Nick?

Daniele Donato: I can neither confirm nor deny.

The Slug: Dick, what's the number one thing that contributed to your win?

Daniele Donato: You better say me.

Dick Donato: Oh, yeah. Daniele. (Pauses.) I think the ability to change. You kind of have to be able to go with the wind and use whatever or whoever is available at the time. That was using the LNC, using Zach, using Jen at one point, aligning with Eric and Jessica and basically owning Jameka at the end of the game. 

The Slug: What do you think the game would've been like for you without Daniele?

Dick Donato: It would've been much harder. Look at the people I was with. Who the hell was I gonna trust? Eric, who was America's Player and talked all kinds of shit behind my back? Finding one person you can totally trust from beginning to end, I felt was key to the game. Walking down the stairs into the den of lions and seeing Daniele there, I knew I had that person. Daniele turned out to be one hell of a competitor. When we needed to win, we won.

The Slug: Dick, you were very combative in the house. Many viewers called some of your remarks sexist, homophobic and racist. How do you respond to that?

Dick Donato: Hell week, as I like to call it, was the second time Daniele and I were on the block together. The entire house had turned against us for trying to get Eric out of the house. Dustin's comment "How's the house gonna be with your daughter gone?" kinda sent things home with me that I needed to do what I needed to do to keep Daniele in the game and push her forward. I was more than willing to get evicted by my actions. I had to make everyone in that house hate me with such a passion. The personal had to outweigh the strategic. I did what I had to do. Anybody who doesn't like it, oh well. The same people I made comments about voted for me to win the game.

The Slug: Right. Why do you think they voted for you instead of Daniele?

Daniele Donato: 'Cause they hate me.

Dick Donato: I think I got a lot of credit for a lot of the strategy, which I think I got too much credit for. I think they saw me getting my hands dirty. They never minded it when it was Jen or Kail or Mike. When I had to turn on them is when we became the bad people. We know how some of those good people's comments have created a backlash in their own life. They're not as good as they thought they were.

The Slug: Some viewers thought you should have been kicked out of the house for your confrontation with Jen or the coded letter you received from your son. What do you think about that?

Dick Donato: Jen came after me. I blew smoke in her face, but she came after me. Oh well. If I would've done that to her and had been swinging around her head, you can bet that I would've been kicked out of the game. It wasn't even talked about. It wasn't even mentioned. If the situation was reversed and I did that, I would've been in the Diary Room, and there would've been major, major problems. But not one thing was said about it. All that was brought up was that she ate when she was supposed to be on slop. As far as the coded letter, it was something Vince and I had talked it. There was nothing really in there. And by the time the letter even arrived, it was five weeks after the fact and wouldn't have mattered, anyway.

The Slug: Kim from Wisconsin wants to know why you were obsessed about Daniele taking vitamins.

Dick Donato: That's when Daniele was on slop. Daniele did not do well on slop at all. I wanted to make sure she was at least getting the vitamins that she needed. It wasn't an obsession. I was just trying to be a dad.

The Slug: So what are y'all going to do with all that money?

Dick Donato: I think we're both taking trips, for sure.

The Slug: Together?

Daniele Donato: Separate.

Dick Donato: We'll meet up for dinner in some countries.

Daniele Donato: Oh, will we?

Dick Donato: Yeah, I think we will. We'll take separate vacations, but will we be meeting up around the world. I would definitely like to show Daniele some of Ireland and England.

The Slug: Now I know the rules state you can't give Daniele any money, but what about presents?

Daniele Donato:  Duh!

Dick Donato: Absolutely. Daniele's college I am, without a doubt, taking care of. We'll have to talk about a car.


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