Julie Chen intentionally stifles her reactions on Big Brother

Big Brother host Julie Chen is famous for her stiff hosting, and even calls herself “the Chenbot” and has a Chenbot coffee mug. But fascinatingly, it seems she actually has to work at being that stiff and awkward.

Asked about switch-ups in the game like Frank’s win last night following his near-eviction, Julie told Entertainment Weekly,

“I am screaming internally but I am calling on my inner Chenbot not to show bias. As soon as I go to commercial I always cover my mouth and talk to my live show producer. And I can hear the control room reacting like, ‘Oh my god!’

I realize her stiffness and robotic movements and dumb, pointless questions have become part of the conceit of the show, and even something people like, but I’d really like to see Julie not intentionally be the Chenbot. Why not scream externally? Why not freak out along with viewers? Why not take sides? It’s not like the producers don’t take sides.

When she has time, Julie watches the live feeds and Big Brother: After Dark–and has access to an e.mailed “Hot Sheet” that summarizes the day’s live feeds, something I’d pay CBS to read. (Julie told the magazine, “They were my idea back in season 2. … That’s the highlight of my day when I get it in my inbox. They have gotten better each year.”)

So she’s a fan, basically, of the show she hosts, and why not show that? We’ve had plenty of this:

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Heading into the finale, the delusion continues, with a re-appearance by evicted Frankie.

Related: The unwatchable cast of Fox's Utopia keeps yelling and screaming.


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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.