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What we know so far about the fall, digital-only Big Brother

A few more details about the forthcoming fall season of Big Brother came during CBS’ TCA session for CBS All Access yesterday. That’s the streaming, subscription-only service where the fall season will be broadcast.

While the TCA session was mostly focused on Star Trek: Discovery, the highly anticipated show with the unfortunate acronym, CBS Interactive president and COO Marc DeBevoise talked briefly about Big Brother. (He also said they’re keeping ST:D: “we are committed to the title”).

He said two new things about Big Brother’s fall season:

  • Its “title and details will be forthcoming”
  • “we’ll be playing off of the Big Brother live feeds concept, which is how we run the camera feeds of the house 24/7 online for CBS All Access subscribers”

So here is what we know about it so far*:

  • It will not be season 19 of Big Brother. That will air next summer, followed by season 20 in 2018.
  • The show will debut “soon” after the Sept. 21 finale of BB18.
  • It will last about 10 weeks, at least a full month shorter than the summer seasons.
  • Julie Chen will host. (Update: DeBevoise walked this back, telling Zap2it she’ll have the “lead role” but “the role isn’t exactly the same.”
  • The show’s regular producers, Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan, will executive produce this season, too.
  • There will be a new title, presumably a subtitle.
  • Casting is ongoing.
  • The production will “reimagine this format for multi-platform audiences,” as DeBevoise said in an earlier press release.
  • Challenges will not be blocked from the live feeds, but they also won’t be as expansive. (In other words, they’ll be spending less money on the production.) Grodner told Zap2it, “the competitions won’t be as big and all of that that we do because that’s just the way it’s going to play out. Competitions can possibly play out longer, people will be able to see everything, it won’t be blocked.”
  • The live “feeds are now primary,” Grodner told Zap2it, meaning that there won’t be full episodes, but instead just “some catch up” of some kind.
  • As part of that, they will actually, finally be paying attention to the live feeds. Grodner told Zap2it, “there will be a reason for people to be awake, how about that?”

* This list was updated on Aug. 13 with information from Zap2it’s report.

How should Big Brother’s format change?

The last one is the most exciting point of all. Reimagining Big Brother creates a pretty big blank slate, and opens up a lot of possibility. Besides the technical constraints and the house itself, and perhaps the core idea of voting people out each week, it seems like everything may be up in the air—which is very awesome.

So what do you think the show should change? What should it try? What have you always wanted it to do that it never has? Or what did it used to do that it should do again?

Share your ideas here—completely anonymously!—and I’ll compile the best (and most amusing) responses together in a future story.

About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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