Julie Chen Opens Up About Scoring Omarosa Manigault for ‘Celebrity Big Brother’

Julie Chen is ready to expect the unexpected. The Celebrity Big Brother host opened up in a new interview about casting Omarosa Manigault for the reality show’s inaugural U.S. season.

Chen, 48, said on CBS This Morning on Monday, January 29, that she and producers were working on scoring the former White House aide, 43, for a few weeks. “I was like, ‘Good luck!’” she said. “We heard we might get a lot of other big names, and then you never know because it is a contract negotiation. But I had a good feeling about [Manigault] because I thought, ‘Well, she’s free. She’s available.’”

Julie Chen and Omarosa Big Brother
Julie Chen and Omarosa David Livingston/Getty Images; Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

The Talk moderator believes Manigault is a great addition to the cast. “We know she likes a platform, a camera. She likes to be heard, and now she can be heard 24/7,” she said, referring to the live feeds that will be available online once the show kicks off.

Chen isn’t sure just yet whether the Apprentice alum will leave politics at the door, predicting that Manigault’s gameplay will depend on the other houseguests. However, the TV host is looking forward to seeing how Manigault and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Brandi Glanville interact. “She and Omarosa are either going to be best friends or bitter enemies,” Chen said.

In addition to Manigault and Glanville, the cast includes Sugar Ray singer Mark McGrath, American Pie actress Shannon Elizabeth, NBA star Metta World Peace, RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Ross Mathews and The Cosby Show alum Keshia Knight Pulliam, among others.

Celebrity Big Brother premieres on CBS on Wednesday, February 7, at 8 p.m. ET.

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