Julie Chen has finally unveiled the Big Brother Season 18 house, with several tours and a whole lot of video. Chen has hosted the U.S. version of the Big Brother game for 16 years, and fans have come to expect the unexpected. But an early summer tour of the Big Brother digs is always on the menu, and this season Julie Chen and CBS producers did not disappoint.
Julie Chen did a private tour of the house with TVGuide.com (which you can see below), officially revealing that there is a summer vacation/travel theme for this season’s house. This season, the made-for-TV pad will host the last two remaining Big Brother houseguests for a record 99 days, but it will definitely feel like they are on a world tour.
Julie explained that each room in the house represents a vacation destination, including a dark and serene African safari room, a London-themed bedroom, a Tokyo bedroom filled with Japanese anime and Godzilla, a kitchen with an Eiffel Tower, and a revamped outdoor area that showcases the beauty of a national park.
In a separate tour with Entertainment Tonight, Julie Chen told ET host Kevin Frazier that each room in the house is a summertime travel destination after the houseguests depart from the main gate. The living room features a large “Departures” sign which could come into play this season. The travel theme runs throughout the house, with each area representing a different part of the world, including a Head of Household bedroom that takes the lucky ruler to Honolulu, Hawaii, complete with a saltwater fish tank headboard.
“We are in Hawaii now, because that has to be America’s favorite vacation spot,” Chen told Frazier of the coveted HOH bedroom.
The Big Brother backyard got the biggest makeover. It will also feature a redesigned pool and hot tub, and a new Cross-Fit gym that will keep this season’s batch of houseguests buff.
Other amenities in the reality TV house include 87 cameras and more than 110 microphones to pick up every houseguest conversation—even in the shower!
In addition to Julie Chen’s tours, Big Brother producers Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan took the Hollywood Reporter on a tour of the CBS summertime digs. Grodner explained that the living room is like the terminal of an airport and that the departure board will have meaning on the opening night of the 18th season of the CBS reality show.
“It’s a high-end airport terminal,” Grodner explained. “Everyone is going to arrive and depart in this room. We’re going to have some fun with that. There’s a lot of fun to be had with this theme. The twists are all themed into what we did with the house this year.”
Incidentally, while this season’s Have Not room was not shown, the producers say it is based on another “sort of” summertime destination, but it will not be fun. But the HOH room will boast a phone booth with a working phone, so that’s something new.
“The Head of Household will be able to call down,” Grodner revealed. “That’s a first.”
As for Julie Chen, she still can’t believe she is still the host of Big Brother after so many years, giving tours of past themes that have included an “urban treehouse” and an Alice in Wonderland theme in seasons past.
“I’ve been there since the beginning,” Julie Chen told ET. “Who would’ve thunk it? At this rate, I’ll be like [former long-running Price Is Right host] Bob Barker!”
You can see more of Julie Chen when Big Brother 18 premieres Wednesday, June 22 with a two-hour episode on CBS.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]