Julie Chen: My Husband Leslie Moonves Cut My Salary for ‘Celebrity Big Brother’

Leslie Moonves and Julie Chen attend the CBS Upfront at The Plaza Hotel in New York City on May 17, 2017.
Leslie Moonves and Julie Chen attend the CBS Upfront at The Plaza Hotel in New York City on May 17, 2017. John Lamparski/WireImage

Expect the unexpected! Julie Chen‘s husband, CBS chief Leslie Moonves, cut her salary in order to make Celebrity Big Brother happen.

“If you know one thing about my husband, it has to make economic sense,” the TV host, 47, told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Wednesday, September 13. “He comes home from dinner and says in a very Godfather, mafioso-style, ‘Jules, you tell your lawyer this is not a negotiation. This is what the deal is and you’re going to accept it.’ And I said, ‘Is that the way you speak to your wife?'”

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Eventually, Moonves, 67, strong-armed his wife of nearly 13 years into taking the pay cut because the CBS reality game show’s first-ever U.S. celebrity edition will have a shorter run than the original’s 90-plus-day schedule.

“He said, ‘You tell your attorney this is not a game we’re playing. Everyone’s taking a haircut,'” Chen continued. “‘This is the only way it will make sense financially. You shouldn’t be expected to be paid as if it’s a full series. It’s a condensed version.'”

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It’s worth noting that the lawyer who represents the Talk moderator is none other than her husband’s brother, Jon Moonves.

Chen announced earlier this month that Celebrity Big Brother is in the works and is slated to premiere this winter. As for her dream roster of A-list houseguests? Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg, Andy Cohen, Tonya Harding, Sean Spicer and Melissa McCarthy, though she admitted to THR that “we’ll never get” the latter two.

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Cohen, a self-proclaimed Big Brother superfan, may not be a long shot. “I’d like to think I’d do great but I think I’d have a target on my back because of my background stirring things up with the [Real] Housewives,” the Bravo star, 49, said.

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