‘Big Brother’ To Get New Set & Backyard Changes Ahead Of All-Stars Season

Julie Chen hosts Big Brother Season 21
Robert Voets / CBS

Big Brother is one of the few reality shows filming during the ongoing health crisis, with Season 22 debuting this coming Wednesday. Producers had to make a plethora of changes when it came to the series this summer, despite the show revolving around quarantined cast members. Executive producer Allison Grodner caught up with Entertainment Weekly today to detail everything that’s going on, and how changes are coming to a show that normally follows the same routine each year.

Longtime Big Brother viewers generally know what to expect when it comes to their favorite reality series. Several famous competitions are used every year, with the house’s backyard built into a wide variety of designs day-by-day. Most of this had to be changed, according to Grodner, and even some aspects on the outside of the house — where Julie Chen hosts the program — will be different as well.

When asked if fans would notice all the major changes that had to be made on Big Brother, she admitted things won’t be too obvious while others will.

“The truth is you really should not notice it, other than the most obvious, which is we don’t have a studio audience. That’s not possible in these times. Opening night, everything is there. It’s big because we have a brand-new front of house for Julie,” the longtime producer said. “It’s spectacular. But there won’t be obviously the energy and applause that a studio audience brings to this. So that’ll be slightly different for us. Other than that, I’ll leave it to the viewers to notice.”

Julie Chen hosts Big Brother Season 21
  Sonja Flemming / CBS

A live studio audience is normally a staple on Big Brother. Guests are brought in to watch during the move-in episode, as well as on eviction nights.

When it comes to competitions and the backyard, Grodner revealed fans shouldn’t really be able to spot any significant changes. Things won’t be “scaled-down,” but she hinted that eagle-eyed fans who are dedicated to the series might catch things that casual viewers might not. The back area is going to be its “own world,” she noted, as creative decisions had to be made during the construction of competitions.

This might seem a bit confusing, but staff for the show is in and out of the backyard constantly, and their contact has to be limited with one another to keep safety protocols in place. This can cut down on the types of sets that can be built, thus ideally encouraging the new changes.