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Celebrity Big Brother will air this winter

Big Brother host Julie Chen (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS)

CBS will broadcast a celebrity version of Big Brother this winter that will be a “concentrated run” and have “multiple episodes per week,” with the same game structure: HOH and POV competitions.

A debut hasn’t been announced, though NBC will be airing the winter Olympics Feb. 9 to 25. The UK version lasts for about 20 to 30 days, so perhaps CBS will use it to counter-program against the Olympics.

The show will have live feeds on CBS All Access, and Big Brother After Dark will air on Pop.

In an interview with THR, both Julie Chen and the show’s producers give additional details.

Terrifyingly, showrunner Allison Grodner won’t rule out having former houseguests as “celebrity” contestants—not even when the example is Frankie Grande appearing on the UK version. “We’re now just diving into it so can’t give any answers on that. It’s all still being worked out on what it’s going to look like,” she said

Julie Chen said that her husband, CBS CEO Les Moonves, is deeply committed to Big Brother’s future:

“We had toyed with it dating back to season two. Paris Hilton agreed to do it and Roseanne Barr also said she was going to and then she backed out. It didn’t come together and I’m glad it didn’t so early on into the series. This is a direct quote from my husband. He said, ‘You and your show are single-handedly keeping this network afloat during the summer.’ He says it all the time, ‘I’m telling you Jules, you’re keeping this network running. You guys continue to make us money.’ He said to me, ‘You’re going to have to quit the show before the show is off the air. This was the first summer he said, ‘With these numbers I don’t see an end in sight. This series could on for a long time and longer than you’re going to be a part of it.’ That’s how long he sees it going on based on the following, the ratings and the numbers.”

Details about CBS’ Celebrity Big Brother

Just as last fall’s Big Brother: OTT didn’t affect the season numbering, the celebrity edition won’t be called season 20; that airs next summer.

Despite some viewers’ frustration with this season, that hasn’t affected ratings: CBS’ press release noted that “all three weekly broadcasts ranking among the summer’s top 5 broadcasts in A18-34, A18-49 and A25-54 while averaging 7.35 million viewers,” and more people are watching the live feeds and episodes on CBS All Access than did last year.

Interesting, a celebrity edition of Survivor has been long rumored/discussed, but it’s Big Brother that’s actually attempting a celebrity season.