Big Brother 22 starts with a two-hour premiere Wednesday night on CBS, and its all-star houseguests have been in quarantᎥne in the Los Angeles area for two weeks before entering the soundstage house.
Some of them tested positive for ᴄᴏᴠɪᴅ-19, host Julie Chen Moonves said on CBS’s Los Angeles affiliate, KCAL, earlier today. But the video of that interview, which was posted to Facebook and the CBS Los Angeles web site earlier today, is now missing from both sites.
In a clip I’ve seen from the now-deleted interview, Julie said, “Well, here’s why I don’t know the final list, because we flew in a bunch of people—more than 16—and some people that I thought were definitely going in the house, they tested positive for ᴄᴏᴠɪᴅ-19, so they could not go in.”
She then echoed the show’s over-used catchphrase: “And I thought, you know what, expect the unexpected. This is always changing.”
Why was that interview removed? Why would a news outlet remove an interview? Her statement does not identify anyone, either by name or otherwise, so it is not defamatory. CBS LA is owned by CBS Television Stations, which is part of ViacomCBS, the parent company of CBS Entertainment, which airs Big Brother. Was there some kind of corporate pressure exerted, and if so, why?
In another interview conducted today, Julie told Portland’s CBS affiliate, KOIN, something different: “I don’t even know as I sit here and speak to the two of you, I don’t even know the final 16 houseguests who are returning. And I didn’t want to know, because I knew I was talking to you two ladies and I’d be like, Yeah, I can’t wait to see so-and-so, and I’d ruin it.”
Both interviews aired today, and Julie was interviewed remotely from the same place in both interviews.
Her now-deleted CBS LA interview—and the admission that at least two houseguests were removed from the cast because of their diagnosis—was confirmed earlier online reports that potential all-star houseguests tested positive. Julie did not identify anyone by name.
However, earlier rumors and reports said that “two winners” were those dropped from the cast. ScreenRant’s report went further, claiming that “it is becoming increasingly more likely that Josh and Kaycee” were those two, since “Josh was seen partying in the state’s [Florida’s] largest city without any social distancing” and “Kaycee has already shown her disregard for safety protocols.”
Both Kaycee and Josh were on the list of BB22 houseguests TV Guide briefly posted and then removed.
Their behavior during the past few months—including partying with other former cast members in Miami, while not wearing masks or physically being distant from other people despite being in one of the epicenters of the pandemᎥc—certainly has seemed irresponsible. But Josh says that his “health is great” and that the “rumors” are innacurrate.
Josh Martinez is in Los Angeles, but is definitely not sequestered now: He was interviewed by paparazzi Monday night in Hollywood, and confirmed he is not on BB22.
Today, he tweeted, “There’s been a lot of speculation about me being on this season of big brother Allstars. I can say that I will not be on this season. Many rumors have been said in the past few days about me that I couldn’t address but to be clear my health is great.”
In a second tweet, he wrote, “Don’t believe everything you read online most of the rumors about me have been false. To be honest I’m bummed that I’m not on but couldn’t be more grateful with everyone over at CBS for always being so great, supportive, & being part of completely changing my life for the better.”
BB22’s cast, and how Julie Chen Moonves will interview houseguests
The cast of BB22 All-Stars technically won’t be revealed until the live premiere, but the show has been posting images on social media that quote past houseguests, likely revealing that those people will be on the cast.
The new Big Brother 22 soundstage house’s design was unveiled Monday, with production designer Scott Storey’s design incorporating elements of past seasons in various spaces. (Read my interview with Scott Storey about how he designs the Big Brother houses.)
Julie Chen said in an interview that she hasn’t yet seen it in person, and would only be on set for the first time today, for a rehearsal.
As to the houseguests, Julie told Entertainment Tonight that they are currently “by themselves in homes that we’ve rented for them. They’re getting tested every few days. They will go in once they’ve been clean and clear for at least 14 days and then even once they get in the house, they’re still going to be tested. They have no contact with anyone.”
Julie said that her exit interviews will be conducted face-to-face with the exiting houseguests, though with some changes, starting with the lack of a studio audience.
“I’m doing testing. I’m doing testing again and then I’m going to do more testing. I’ll be farther than ever from the houseguests as they get evicted. No hugs, not even a Chenbot handshake,” she said. Chen added, “There’s too much on the line to not go above and beyond the protocol to make sure everyone is safe.”