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The Block 2024 EXCLUSIVE: Channel Nine's surprising demands of the new cast members

The move is apparently common in reality tv.

It's no secret that some people go on reality shows with the hopes of boosting their Instagram followings, but it seems that the upcoming - and yet-to-be-announced - cast of The Block needs to appear as down-to-earth as possible.

An insider exclusively tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the upcoming batch of Blockheads have been asked to cull their Instagram followings "to avoid looking like potential 'influencers' or 'fame hungry wannabees' for the 20th-anniversary series".

An insider says that this year's Blockheads need to seem relatable. Credit: Channel Nine
An insider says that this year's Blockheads need to seem relatable. Credit: Channel Nine

"The last two weeks leading up to filming have seen several brand new contestants deleting up to thousands of followers to meet this criteria from Channel Nine - which, apparently has happened in other years and is standard for a lot of reality shows," the source shares.

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The reason for the rumoured request, according to the insider, is that audiences prefer relatable contestants - something that has been made clear over 20 years of the show.

"There are a few simple ways we can humble our contestants to the viewers," the insider said.

One of those ways is to ask Block contestants to get their social media to less than 1000 followers, which is said to have taken place over the last week, but not without some raised eyebrows.

The insider revealed that one couple from interstate "halved their following overnight and dropped all brands from their accounts", but that the move evoked some suspicion amongst their friends and family "who should still be in the dark at this stage".

"All involvement in the new series should be kept a secret," the insider tells Yahoo Lifestyle. "They would be in damage control 'lying' to their friends and family for sure.

"The mission all contestants must undertake to maintain their anonymity is quite full on. Their contracts are quite long and they will be booted from the show if their names get leaked prior to the broadcast of the first episode."

Of course, with The Block filming for 12 whole weeks, it can be a hard secret to keep under wraps.

However, as is said to be stipulated in the participant's contracts:

"You agree that Nine may terminate this Agreement if You and Your Partner are publicly identified (including on social media) as a potential participant in the Program prior to the broadcast of the first episode of the Program (notwithstanding that You did not know of and did not consent to such identification), except by Nine or its representatives or with Nine's prior written consent."

Steph and Gian won The Block in 2023 and are set to return in 2024 for the 20th anniversary edition of the series. Credit: Channel Nine
Steph and Gian won The Block in 2023 and are set to return in 2024 for the 20th anniversary edition of the series. Credit: Channel Nine

An insider previously told Yahoo Lifestyle that 2023 winners Steph and Gian would return to the series in a different capacity than last year, revealing that while they won't be contestants, they will have a significant role when it comes to an ongoing Block tradition of participants having access to "Block Bucks."

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Since their history-making win in 2023 (the couple, as you'll remember, walked away with a staggering $1.65 million in prize money) Steph has been busy with her new furniture line being made in Melbourne. Yahoo Lifestyle understands that her Japandi Estate brand will launch during the upcoming season during which the new contestants can use vouchers to access styling from last year's winner.

The insider also revealed that Channel Nine has all The Block contestants arriving in Melbourne this week ahead of filming, which is rumoured to begin on Monday. The cast has been kept under lock and key and will all be kept separate until the first challenge which will be filmed on day one of the competition.

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