'Big Brother' host Julie Chen dishes on the Season 23 cast of newbies
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/07/2021
Big Brother host Julie Chen has revealed whether she prefers an All-Star or newbie cast, her thoughts on the diverse houseguests of Season 23, and what she's looking forward to seeing from the new players.
Big Brother's 22nd season was an All-Stars edition that featured some fan-favorites and big threats going home early, and the show's upcoming 23rd season -- premiering Wednesday, July 7 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS -- will feature a brand new lineup of houseguests who have never played the game before.
When asked which type of season she prefers, veterans or new players, Julie shared, "I like them in different ways," according toUs Weekly.
"I think I'm always a little bit more excited to see the new people because when you see returning houseguests, you already have an opinion on them. And rarely does that change," Julie explained in a video interview.
"I think the only time it changed was Rachel Reilly when she was playing. Halfway through, she turned things around, and she ended up winning," Julie recalled.
"She had a big target on her back and she could be seen as a little bit [polarizing], like you either love her or you don't. And for me personally, when I found myself rooting for her at the end, it was just so rewarding to see her really be the underdog and come out heroic."
Julie therefore said she enjoys "meeting the new people."
"And then I like when they come back as like a visitor to do something in a future season," Julie shared.
"I also like to see the new people come into opening night, having an opinion on these people based on what they've told me about themselves, and then that slowly shifting and really getting to know them."
"You feel like you're on 50 first dates with these people, and then you see their true colors come out," Julie said, adding that the game can bring out the best or worst in people.
"And quite often, they see a side of themselves that they've never seen before. You know, because they've never been in this pressure cooker with a group of people that they may not necessarily be hunky-dory with, all of them."
Julie also pointed out how it's exciting when romantic relationships blossom. For instance, Cody Nickson and Jessica Graf fell in love on Big Brother's nineteenth season and are currently married with two children together.
"The most exciting part is that we never advertise it as a romance show, but we have had so many successful marriages," Julie explained.
'I mean, just a week ago, [Memphis Garrett] proposed to [Christmas Abbott] and they weren't even an item in the house. And we have single houseguests who say they are ready to mingle, they're ready to find romance, a future spouse. That happens onBig Brother."
When the houseguests live together 24/7, cast members get to know one another, "warts and all" and "the good and the bad and the ugly about that person," according to Julie.
"You're bonded, like it or not, you're bonded. Some of these people end up dating after Big Brother and they weren't even necessarily on the right season with each other. They've become like their own fraternity outside the house," Julie shared.
In terms of what fans can expect from Big Brother's Season 23 cast of 16 houseguests, which was announced by CBS on July 1, Julie complimented the network on "a great move" in choosing to cast at least 50 percent black, indigenous and people of color.
"We've seen, almost every summer, racially-insensitive comments that are made in the house. That has become a topic of conversation. And it was only last summer where you had seasoned players, All-Stars, come back and talk about that," Julie recalled.
"And those were some of the best conversations that were had in the house. And they were also more mature as a group because years had passed... a lot of them came back in as a parent and they're like, 'What kind of world am I raising in?'"
As a result, Julie gushed about more diverse casting being "a good thing."
"We're going to see the most diverse cast ever," Julie confirmed.
"And that's not to say something won't happen or won't be said that is racially insensitive, but hopefully -- as always, we will address it -- if that happens, it could be a teaching moment for everyone involved."
Big Brother will continue to air three episodes every week this summer following its July 7 debut.
Beginning on Sunday, July 11, the series will air on Sunday and Wednesday nights from 8-9PM ET/PT as well as on Thursday nights.
Each Thursday night episode of Big Brother, hosted by Julie, will feature a houseguest's eviction and air live on the East Coast from 8-9PM.