Julie Chen’s Big Brother catchphrase is “expect the unexpected,” but even she may not have expected this. The Big Brother: Celebrity Edition has been a ratings hit—so much so that the longtime CBS host is already teasing future seasons. With 7.25 million viewers tuning in, the Celebrity Big Brother premiere earlier this month was the most watched show over second-place Chicago P.D., according to Deadline. While the numbers went down once Celebrity Big Brother was pitted against the Olympics, ratings for the CBS reality show have remained solid. Now, Julie Chen says Celebrity Big Brother could be back next winter.
When asked by Entertainment Weekly if fans can expect to see an annual installment of Celebrity Big Brother every winter, Chen said:
“I wouldn’t rule it out! Who knows? It’s definitely possible. With these ratings, it did what we hoped as opposed to running repeats of the current slate of shows. It all depends how well all the shows on the air are doing.”
But Chen also added that Celebrity Big Brother “takes up a lot of real estate on the prime-time schedule,” with multiple episodes each week.
“We are used to having at least three nights to air in a week,” the Big Brother host said. “CBS is known for having a strong schedule of shows year round so it’s hard to say right now what will happen next winter.”
Julie Chen had long been vocal about her desire for a celebrity version of the show she has hosted since 2000, but the stars literally aligned for this first-ever U.S. Celebrity Big Brother competition. In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Julie said with the Olympics airing on rival network NBC, it allowed Celebrity Big Brother producers to get the celebrities they wanted for the show’s first-ever star-studded edition.
Chen also revealed that in the past it was difficult to develop a celebrity edition of the show because they couldn’t find stars to agree to be locked up in a sequester house for three months during the summer. The three-week winter edition was developed as an alternative to the Olympics for viewers.
“The measuring stick will be different,” Chen said of the anticipated ratings for Celebrity Big Brother. “We’re not expecting to beat the Olympics; we’re just hoping it’s a fun alternative. Not everyone watches the Olympics. I don’t think we can lose!”
With broadcasts four days a week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), including two live shows, Chen described Celebrity Big Brother as “Big Brother on speed.”
While diehard Big Brother fans have definitely been tuning in, the three-and-a-half week Celebrity Big Brother mini-season has yet to feature Big Brother favorites Zingbot and OTEV. But Julie Chen pointed out that the celebrity superfans in the house want the full Big Brother experience as they compete for the $250,000 grand prize, so with several episodes left, anything can happen.
The remaining Celebrity Big Brother houseguests include James Maslow, Ross Mathews, Brandi Glanville, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Ariadna Gutierrez, Mark McGrath, and Omarosa Manigault.