Julie Chen Teases Online-Only Version of ‘Big Brother’: ‘Everything Plays Out Live’

Julie Chen
Julie Chen Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Big Brother fans sad that the perennial summer hit has just ended need not cry in their bowls of slop. CBS is bringing the popular reality staple back tonight, September 28, for an all-new season called Big Brother: Over the Top, to stream exclusively on their All Access site. And don’t worry, Julie Chen fans: The host is back at the helm to guide the houseguests through a fall of HOH competitions, backstabbing and teary Diary Room confessions. Chen tells Us Weekly to expect, of course, the unexpected from the online-only season.

Us Weekly: Is there the possibility of too much Big Brother?

JC: This online season targets the people who subscribe and watch the broadcast because they can’t get enough. There’s no such thing as too much Big Brother. If we could keep the same number of subscribers from the summer, Over the Top will be a big success. Those online fans, they know every detail. They’re so into it that they see things that aren’t even there; they see what they want to see.

Us: Do you think you’ll get converts from TV to online?

JC: Yeah! That would be the gravy on top. If we keep the online fans and get a few new ones, the new ones would be amazing!

Us: Is the online version going to be different from TV?

JC: Not at all. I’m not trying to do a different version of Big Brother, like a spinoff game — we’re trying to keep it as true to form as possible. The main difference is how can we use it to our advantage that people are watching online, give them some power. The public will have a hand in nominations and evictions and the winner.

Us: Do you think the gameplay is going to change now that the viewers vote for the winner?

JC: No, for a few reasons. You can’t put on an act 24/7 and lie to the public for three months. I mean, if you can, you’re a sociopath (laughing). And No. 2, they still have to play week to week to get along with others and not get voted out.

Us: Can viewers expect any blackout periods?

JC: The plan is everything plays out live!

Us: Will we see Diary Room sessions?

JC: That’s a really big deal. There's people who watch online who are interested in seeing them cook or sleep. Imagine being a fly on the wall in that Diary Room. That is intimate.

Us: When is the returning houseguest (either BB 18’s Jozea Flores or season 17’s Jason Roy) revealed?

JC: On the live show tonight. That person is the last person to move in.

Fans need to sign up for CBS All Access to get an unprecedented look at the houseguests 24/7. Every week, Over the Top will air a regular episode on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST leading up to a live eviction at 11 p.m. A weekday five-minute daily wrap of highlights will also run at 10 p.m. The other key time is 10 p.m. Saturday, when a “safety ceremony” plays out live to see which houseguests don't hear their names called. The unlucky two are on the block for the week.

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