Julie Chen is not playing favorites, but she has a bit of a soft spot for one of the contestants on CBS’ upcoming season of Celebrity Big Brother. In a new interview with TV Guide, Chen, who has hosted the non-celeb edition of Big Brother for 19 seasons, dished about the franchise’s first-ever star-studded season, which features NBA star Metta World Peace, The Cosby Show’s Keshia Knight Pulliam, Big Time Rush star James Maslow, MMA fighter Chuck Liddell, The Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault and more.
In the interview, Julie Chen revealed that she has a “soft spot” for Celebrity Big Brother contestant Marissa Jaret Winokur, who worked with her during the first season of The Talk seven years ago. The first season of The Talk focused more on celebrity moms, with an original cast that included Chen, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remini, and Broadway star Marissa Jaret Winokur, who served as a special “Mom on the Street” correspondent for the CBS daytime chatfest.
While Chen revealed that she hasn’t had Marissa over at her house “at dinner every night for the last eight years,” she admitted she has a soft spot for her former Talk colleague — especially since Marissa is a Big Brother superfan.
“Yes, there is a soft spot in my heart for her,” Julie Chen told TV Guide of Winokur.
“She’s a superfan, she’s a great person, she makes me laugh…We all love her and it’s hard to watch her and not like her because she’s very self-deprecating, she’s very funny, she’s very upbeat, she’s very bubbly. So, of course, there’s a secret part of me that’s rooting for her…Mom-to-mom and former co-worker-to-former co-worker, I secretly root for her because she’s an underdog.”
Julie also said it would be “really emotional” if Marissa won Celebrity Big Brother but that she would love to see her do it for the sake of her 10-year-old son, who is also a superfan of the CBS reality show.
Only diehard fans of The Talk would remember Marissa Jaret Winokur’s short stint on the show. The Talk debuted in October 2010, but by January 2011, Marissa was gone. Winokur joined the CBS daytime chatfest to do “Mom in the Street” segments twice a week.
She later told People, “As the show evolved, there really wasn’t room for my segments.”
The decision to part ways was a mutual one between Marissa Jaret Winokur and CBS, but now fans can look forward to seeing her back on the network—at least for a little while.
In addition to Marissa Jaret Winokur, Metta World Peace, Keshia Knight Pulliam, James Maslow, Chuck Liddell, and Omarosa Manigault, the Celebrity Big Brother cast will include Sugar Ray singer Mark McGrath, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville, TV host Ross Matthews, American Pie actress Shannon Elizabeth and Miss Universe runner-up Ariadna Gutierrez.
Check out Marissa Jaret Winokur and the original cast of The Talk in the video below.
Big Brother: Celebrity Edition premieres Wednesday, February 7 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.