‘Big Brother’ Insiders Say Julie Chen Has ‘Checked Out’ As The Future Of The CBS Reality Show Remains Unclear

The longtime CBS host has reportedly not been the same since her husband Les Moonves' sudden exit from the network.

Monty Brinton / CBS

The longtime CBS host has reportedly not been the same since her husband Les Moonves' sudden exit from the network.

Big Brother fans are in panic mode as the shakeup at CBS hits a little too close to home. In the aftermath of Julie Chen’s departure from The Talk one week after her husband, Les Moonves, exited the network amid multiple sexual misconduct allegations, Big Brother fans are waiting to see if she will continue hosting the long-running CBS reality show. Chen has been the host of Big Brother for 18 years and 20 seasons. The CBS reality show has not yet been renewed for a 21st season.

Sources close to CBS and Big Brother told People that Julie Chen has not been the same since her husband’s scandal caused a shakeup at CBS. While Chen was previously a very “hands-on” host, routinely interacting with the crew, she has reportedly not been as approachable for the last few weeks, a Big Brother source told People.

“She comes in, does what she has to do, and leaves. She doesn’t make small talk; she doesn’t talk to the crew. It’s clear you can’t approach her. If she’s not on camera, she’s either on her phone or she retreats to her room. It’s like a different host. It feels like she’s totally checked out of Big Brother.”

The insider added that while Chen is always “a complete professional,” it’s now “very different. It really does feel like she’s done.”

But CBS insiders told TMZ that Julie Chen wants to stay on as host of Big Brother, despite last Thursday’s seemingly defiant signoff as “Julie Chen Moonves” for the first time in the show’s 18-year history. TMZ says Chen will finish out the current season of Big Brother, which wraps next week, and the plan is for her to return if the show is renewed for a 21st season. The celebrity gossip site also confirmed that CBS does indeed want Julie Chen back and has no plans to punish her for her husband’s alleged indiscretions.

Insiders say Julie Chen left The Talk on her own accord with no pressure from CBS, with the explanation that she needs to spend more time at home during her husband’s crisis. The shooting schedule for Big Brother, which is primarily a summertime show with only one live episode per week, is much less demanding than the daily chatfest The Talk, and it will allow Chen to spend much needed time at home with her husband and their young son, Charlie.

Meanwhile, Big Brother winner Dick Donato alleges that Julie Chen signed an “exit deal” with CBS. Donato took to Twitter to reveal he heard from some “inside” people that Chen’s contract was bought out with “a very generous golden parachute” and that she will finish out this season of Big Brother and “that will be it for her at CBS.”

The Big Brother Season 20 finale will air Wednesday, Sept. 26 on CBS.