Big Brother fans will barely have a breather before the next cycle of the hit reality series begins. In a surprise move, the longtime CBS summertime reality show will debut a fall edition next month on CBS All Access. Deadline reports that the 19th season of the voyeuristic reality show will premiere within days of the September 21 finale of Big Brother 18.
The All Access edition of Big Brother will run 10 weeks, about a month shorter than past seasons of the CBS staple, and it will be produced by the same team behind the broadcast version of the show. While Julie Chen has been the host of Big Brother since its inception in 2000, her role, if any, for the new edition is unclear.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the All Access version of Big Brother will be an expansion of the series, and it will not replace CBS’ annual summertime version of the show. But this extra Big Brother cycle will make CBS All Access the first subscription streaming service to launch a reality competition show.
This is not the first time Big Brother has aired a season outside of summertime. The Season 9 edition of the show premiered in February 2008 during the writers’ strike, but ratings took a hit. All of the other 17 seasons of Big Brother aired in the summer, with at least one live episode per week.
While CBS will surely get increased viewership on its All Access site with the addition of the new BB this fall, the timing of this Big Brother extra is interesting. Julie Chen previously told THR that a fall version of the show on network television would require an increased budget.
“If we ever get invited to the fall schedule we’d have to make [the prize] a million dollars,” Chen said in 2014. “But as long as it’s a summer reality show, on a summer reality show budget, it would have to stay at half a million dollars — which is still life-changing money.”
Now that it’s a fall reality show on a streaming site, expect the prize to stay at $500,000. But this also paves the way for Big Brother’s milestone 20th season to debut on CBS next summer, and if ever there was a time to do an all-stars edition, Season 20 could be it.
Fans have been clamoring for an all-stars season of Big Brother ever since the first edition aired in 2006. But Julie Chen has been back and forth over the prospect of another Big Brother all-stars.
“Look, we love the Will Kirbys, the Mike Boogies, and the Janelles, and they will always have a special spot in our hearts,” Chen told Entertainment Weekly two years ago. “And maybe they’ll make an appearance in some sort of stunt, but I think the beauty of this game is showing true fans who have never played it. And I think you want that, and you lose that element if you bring people that have lived in that house before.”
Still, last year, Julie seemed to have changed her stance on the subject. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Chen said she has been pushing for an “all-stars” season that would feature all of the franchise’s past winners.
“I have been actually pushing for an ‘all-star’ season in that it’s beyond ‘all-star,'” Chen told ET. “It’s the cream of the crop. It’s the winner from each season to compete. So, it’s the ‘Winner’s Circle.’ And I’m talking back to season one, Eddie [McGee]. I mean all the way back!”
Now that would be something — and the Season 20 milestone sounds like the perfect time to get it done, especially since Big Brother superfans have been waiting for a true all-stars season for more than a decade.
Mike “Boogie” Malin won the first Big Brother All-Stars in 2006. Other franchise alums who have returned to the Big Brother house for a second try at the $500,000 grand prize include Will Kirby, Dick Donato, Dan Gheesling, Rachel Reilly, Jeff Schroeder, and Jordan Lloyd, as well as the current season’s returnees Frank Eudy, James Huling, Nicole Franzel, and Da’Vonne Rogers.
Take a look at the video below to see the greatest Power of Veto speech in Big Brother history, which aired on the first Big Brother all-stars season.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]