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Julie Chen blogs 'Big Brother': Season 12 premiere

Hi everyone! Let the games (and the blogs) begin! We kicked off a new season  Big Brother tonight, welcoming 13 new HOUSEGUESTS  for a summer-long extravaganza of bikinis and backstabbing.  It’s so hard to believe, but ten years ago we started the ultimate voyeuristic reality show (52 cameras and 95 microphones) and here we are a decade later.

I’m so excited to bring you my weekly download on everything from the cast, twist, HOH, and evictions, and I hope you enjoy my take on what this season will have to offer. For my first blog entry I wanted to lay out my first impressions of the cast and this new season — and I’m interested to hear your take as well so be sure to comment below with your first impressions.

Cast Impressions: I believe this cast of characters might be one of the smartest ones we’ve ever assembled.  We have a college professor, a chemistry graduate student, a podiatrist, and a web designer who is a member of MENSA. We’re already seeing some cliques and alliances starting to form, but I’m eager to see how the speculation on the Saboteur will ultimately impact game play and strategy.  At this point in the game, everyone is still playing it safe, which is typical early on — no one is looking to rock the boat and end up on the nomination block, but I’m sure that will all change soon.

Here are my initial thoughts on the thirteen people crazy enough to potentially spend 75 days in lock down without any contact with the outside world.  P.S. – I think our show is without a doubt the toughest reality show on television from a mental standpoint.  I don’t know how these guys do it!

Andrew: The show’s first ever Orthodox Jew.  He’s an avid student of Big Brother and loves the game. We’ve already seen that he’s a prankster and I think Andrew has the potential to really stir the pot this season.

Kathy: I love Kathy.  She is the oldest Houseguest this season…keep your eye on her…you can’t count out a female Deputy Sheriff who oversees a department full of men!

Kristen: What a surprise…we have a bikini model in the house. So far Kristen is playing the “sit back and watch” game.  However, I get the sense her fellow Houseguests are starting to question why she’s so quiet.

Rachel: Rachel is a dynamic character.  She’s a VIP Cocktail waitress/chemistry graduate student who seems to get along with everyone.  But will her fellow Housemates think she’s too loud and over the top?  We’ll see!

Monet: Monet is a wildcard.  Wildly opinionated, but seems to be getting along with everyone at this point.  Does winning the $10,000 put a target on her back?

Enzo: I was surprised when Enzo first entered the house and didn’t say much, but I have a feeling he’ll start to pipe up very soon.  This guy will not be afraid to make some moves early on to secure his position in the house.

Hayden: Our first HOH.  Hayden is our All American guy. I’m calling it here…first showmance of the season between Hayden and Kristen?

Brendon: Resident hunk for this season!

Lane: The southern gentleman of this cast.

Matt: Matt is a genius – literally – as a member of MENSA.  He has the potential to be a serious gamer.  Matt strikes me as a guy who has coasted through life with his brain, but coasting through the BB house for 75 days is a whole different ballgame.

Ragan: Resident college professor, who will not be afraid to speak his mind and is eager to manipulate his housemates.

Annie: She has a great personality, the kind of girl that you want to hang out with.  She’s bi-sexual but hasn’t revealed that to the house yet.  Curious to see if she does and if so, how that impacts perception among her Housemates.

Britney: A small town southern girl, who talks a big game but not sure she can actually back it up.

HOH Competition: What can I say?  This was a classic Big Brother challenge.  Lucky break for Andrew, who volunteered to be the mascot.  He lost out on the rewards but is safe from elimination for the first week.  And how about Hayden – guess he’s either lucky or unlucky depending on how you look at it.  Lucky to win HOH, but could have put a target on his back by demonstrating his physical prowess.

Saboteur Twist: I’m constantly surprised and impressed with the twists that our producers come up with each season, and this year was no different with the addition of this season’s Saboteur game piece.  One of the better aspects of my job is delivering news like this to the Houseguest — just as they were settling into their new surroundings we spring an added layer of paranoia into the mix.  Loved watching the speculation spread like wildfire throughout the house.  Conspiracy theorists in the house are probably wondering — was Britney really injured during the challenge or was she trying to take her team out of the competition; Kathy consistently falling throughout the challenge seemed a little excessive and Brendon brushing his teeth in the dark seemed a little strange.

Who do you think the Saboteur is? Sound off below and remember, you can give the Saboteur their tasks to wreak havoc on the house. Submit your ideas at

The fourth of July has passed and summer is officially here… BIG BROTHER IS BACK! We are in for a great summer. Just as the temperatures are rising outside, the heat inside the Big Brother house is guaranteed to rise as well.  Remember to come back every week for my thoughts and reactions along the way.

Julie Chen Blogs 'Big Brother': episode 2

What the BEEP! Oh, “Big Brother Saboteur,” we barely knew you! Sad to see our “Saboteur” leave the house tonight…I was eagerly anticipating a summer full of crazy Big Brother fan-inspired sabotage.

I think Annie played the game well, but she may have shot herself in the foot by playing too hard too soon. After tonight’s show, she told me that the moment she entered the house she started playing her game, while most of her fellow Houseguests sat back and let the game come to them. She also admittedly didn’t handle being put on the block very well and reacted too aggressively. Whatever the reasoning, her HouseMATES delivered a resounding eviction vote of 10-0. Not one vote for Rachel – THAT had to sting!

She also expressed that the game was much harder than expected and that the realization that she could not trust someone she was sharing a room with was emotionally draining. I think she was also a bit embarrassed for being the first to leave, but overall grateful for the experience.

I do give her kudos for the bold yet failed attempt to save herself by calling out Brendon for lying about his profession. That move only strengthens the disdain the “Brigade” has towards the swim coach. And she even snuck in one last sabotage before walking out…tune in on Sunday to see what she did. A “Saboteur” till the very end.

Once Annie left the studio, I was standing on the stage thinking that the “Brigade” would maintain their control of the house, but then a curveball in the form of a red-headed “Have-Nottie” snatches this week’s HOH. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Rachel goes from tag-along to leader in the blink of an eye. That’s exactly what I love about this show. Do you think her “showmance” continues or does she use her power in the game to snuggle up to a more secure player? Comments, please!

Now that the “Saboteur” has been ousted and with a new HOH in place, here are my thoughts on the current alliances inside the house. I’ve ranked the alliances in order of strength:

1) The “Brigade” Alliance (Hayden, Enzo, Lane and Matt): Despite Rachel’s victory this evening, I think they’re still running the show. But on the flip side, their moniker could be one of the weakest in 12 seasons.

2) The “Love Nerds” Alliance (Brendon and Rachel): This season’s inaugural “showmance” is hot and heavy for the time being. I think it’s safe to say that Brendon is camping out in the HOH room all week. Rachel’s victory tonight moved them from third to second place in the rankings. Both are very strong players – physically and mentally – and as Annie stated during her plea before being voted out, we could be witnessing the emergence of this season’s Jeff and Jordan.

*A quick dating tip for Brendon and all future love birds on this show — it’s probably never a good idea to ask one of your fellow Houseguests out on a date (once the show is over) while you’re still living inside the house. You never know where this game is going to take you.

3) “Arkansas’ Finest” Alliance (Britney, Kathy and Monet): Yes, I know Monet isn’t from Arkansas. I understand the regional bond between Britney and Kathy, but I’m still trying to figure out Monet’s association. Does Britney remind anyone of a younger Kathy without the badge? I predict this is the first alliance to break up.

4) Kristen and Andrew: One of the most peculiar pairings so far in my opinion. I’m still waiting for Kristen to pipe up a bit more, but maybe that’s part of her strategy. And are we starting to see hints of a second “showmance” forming between Kristen and Hayden?

5) Ragan: Poor Ragan. Either he’ll continue to be an outsider in this game or play the role of the all powerful swing vote at some point.


* We all learned during tonight’s HOH challenge that there was 330 gallons of sticky “goo” in Sunday night’s “Sweet Tooth” challenge. But did you know that there was over 1,300 pounds of popcorn!

* My personal favorite “fan-submitted sabotage” was one that suggested the “Saboteur” throw all the Houseguest’s food over the Big Brother wall. That’s called playing to win…depriving you and your fellow competitors of nourishment. I wish we could have seen that one played out.


* I love Kathy, but she really needs to lose that “Rub for Luck” shirt or at least wear something else. Wonder what her fellow officers back in Arkansas think?

* Enzo, no more sunglasses inside the house! If you’re using it as a tactic to avoid eye contact when you’re lying through your teeth that’s one thing. But I get the sense, the “Meow, Meow” simply thinks it’s cool. Love ya Enzo, but we’re not at the World Series of Poker.

* I’m not sure who was more emotional this week, Annie or Brendon. I understand Annie’s tears, but Brendon needs to man up a bit if he’s going to stay in the house.

* I’m guessing America decided Kathy was the “Saboteur” the second they saw her taking a siesta during the “Sweet Tooth” challenge. I’m not saying I could have done it either, but she may need to showcase a bit more physicality to stay in the game.

That’s all for this week. I can’t wait to see how the shift in the HOH impacts the game. Do Brendon and Rachel keep love alive; will we see a second “showmance” between Kristen and Hayden emerge; will Ragan jump into an alliance?

thanks will! :waves:

Julie Chen blogs 'Big Brother': episode 3

A lot of tears inside the house this week.

One of the misfortunes of winning a cash prize during the first week of a competition-based reality series is that you give your fellow players a reason to eliminate you – and I believe that’s what happened when Monet snagged the $10,000 prize during the first challenge. Whether or not that was the sole deciding factor for the House’s vote of 7-2 to eliminate Monet is uncertain, but it clearly gave Rachel and her fellow Housemates an excuse to hang their hat on.

I spoke with Monet after last night’s show and she’s in pretty good spirits despite the elimination. I think walking away with the $10,000 prize in hand definitely eases the pain. She did touch on how emotionally draining this past week has been for her and her trusted ally Britney. She also emphatically stated that she has no regrets for the trash talking seminars she and Britney held in the backyard. Those are two ladies I would never want to tick off.

I asked Monet if she had any parting advice for Britney and I was genuinely surprised by her answer. She suggested that Britney’s lifespan inside the house could be extended if she were able to team up with their rival, Rachel. A surprising but intriguing strategy if Britney could pull it off.

Now, let’s talk game play! Clearly, Matt had the move of the week by putting himself up as a pawn. WOW! An absolute risky move at this early stage of the game, when alliances are still fresh and can easily be broken and replaced by new ones. Whether or not his roll of the dice proves to be advantageous down the road is yet to be seen. He’s obviously playing both sides of the house and I personally think he took a hit when Rachel called him out during the House meeting. At the very least, he’s officially put a target on his back by announcing that he’s a player who is willing to lie and cheat to get to the end.  EVERYONE DOES IT…JUST DON’T GET CAUGHT.

Coming out of last week, I was honestly starting to wonder what was wrong with Kristen. She was literally the quietest Houseguest I had ever seen. I’m glad to see her show some fire this week when she stood up for herself. Maybe laying low is her strategy, but I hope she wakes up and starts asserting herself a bit more. My gut tells me she has the potential to be a sleeper in this game. Maybe her secret “showmance” will spark some new life.

Speaking of “showmance”…which “showmance” do you think will last longer inside the house? The “Love Nerds” or Hayden and Kristen? Let me know your thoughts below.

I think the Brigade still holds the power in the house based solely on numbers, but Rachel and Brendon could prove to be a powerful alliance.   I know I said it last week, but both are strong, both are bright, and if they stick together they might make a run at this. On the other side of the spectrum is Britney. Miss Arkansas could be in serious trouble depending on who snags this week’s HOH — or maybe she’ll adopt Monet’s advice and partner up with Rachel.

This is usually about the time in the game that we start to see a lot of scrambling inside the house and this upcoming week should be no different.


On the POV Competition:

* The dollar bills that the Houseguests were getting slapped with were over 8 inches long and the serial number on the Big Brother dollar bills was 19811450.

On the HOH Competition:

* The giant wave wall was 65 feet long and 12 feet high!

* The surfboards that the Houseguests balanced on were 8 feet long!

* The surfboards could be lowered to a 40 degree angle, increasing the difficulty of balancing!


Enzo: “It’s like Alcatraz with palm trees. I am about to go ‘Shawshank’ and spoon my way out.”

Rachel: (When I asked her if she would choose the half million dollars or Brendon?) “Brendon is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I would have to choose what’s best for me and Brendon.”

Matt: “Take it away Chenbot.” (I had to throw that one in there.)


I received some questions regarding my wardrobe for last week’s LIVE show. Thanks for those. I was wearing Thierry Mugler last week and in case you’re wondering, last night’s outfit was Max Mara.

Thanks to all of you for the support. We have a great season on our hands and it only promises to get better.

Julie Chen blogs 'Big Brother' week 4

I wanted to start out by saying a HUGE thank you to everyone for all the support this season.  We’re having a fantastic summer — great ratings, great drama and, as always, fantastic fan support.

And speaking of drama — just when you thought the “Summer of the Saboteur” was over, they pull you back in!

In case you missed last night’s show, I announced that we are asking you, the fans, to pick this season’s next Saboteur. One player who is already living inside the house will have the opportunity to accept the challenge of playing the second Saboteur.  If they survive for two weeks they win $20,000.

Who do you think would make for a good Saboteur?  First tell me your thoughts below, and then visit and make it official by casting your vote for this summer’s next prankster or backstabber.  Next week we’ll tally your votes and see who you think will be best at disrupting the house.

Let’s discuss all the activity (or should I say campaigning) inside the house this week.  Matt snags HOH and immediately breaks rank and goes against the advice of the Brigade — instead of throwing grenades (as Enzo would say) at Brendon and Rachel, he opts to put Andrew and Kathy on the block.  I don’t understand the strategy of putting Andrew up, but in terms of his decision to nominate Kathy -  it was clearly a selection motivated by revenge. Kathy presents no real threat inside the house with regards to gameplay or challenges.  Therefore I understand the Brigade’s frustration with Matt’s strategy.  “Matt the Magnificent” stood by his nominations all week, but I personally think he showed a short-sighted approach and missed a huge opportunity to strengthen his alliance’s position in the house.   He could have broken up the Brendon and Rachel “showmance” once and for all, but instead wasted his shot on Andrew.  And to make matters worse for the Brigade, Rachel grabs HOH again this evening, securing her and Brendon’s safety for another week.

Kudos to Rachel and Brendon…especially Rachel.  She is one tough cookie when it comes to HOH comps.   That’s two HOH victories for Rachel and two POV victories for Brendon. I’d say that’s a team to be reckoned with, wouldn’t you?

Poor Andrew – I felt sorry for him this week when he started scrambling and grasping for any chance at survival.  The Big Brother house is like high school – the moment you show a hint of weakness or desperation you’re dead in the water. By week’s end, Andrew was a man with no country.  But if you know you’re on the outside, why not go out swinging, which is what he did.  That was one fantastic speech from Andrew during tonight’s show, but in the end it did not buy him one single vote.  Although you have to wonder what impact the information he revealed (confirming a second “showmance” between Kristen and Hayden) will have on the house moving forward.

Some Random Thoughts:

– I know I’m guilty of referring to this cast as possibly the smartest we’ve ever had, but after the illogical campaigning put forth by Brendon this week and Matt’s nominations, I would like to retract that statement.

– House meetings don’t work!  If you’re feeling threatened enough to call the meeting, its probably already too late. As was the case with Andrew — too little too late.

– I love how this season’s men are so in touch with their feelings!  For example… Brendon’s tearful moments from week one and then  this week’s emotional outbursts from Andrew.  Seeing this makes the Chenbot emotional…yes the Chenbot has feelings!

– My advice to Rachel: You don’t have to yell in the Diary Room.  Those are state-of-the-art microphones that can pick up your audio just fine.  (But isn’t she great television?)

– I don’t know when it will happen, but I get the sense that the Brigade could splinter at any time.  Maybe they’re stronger than I think, but it seems unlikely they’ll be able to maintain a united front throughout the entire summer — especially with the emergence of the second showmance.

Top Quotes This Week:

Lane regarding Ragan asking why he shaves his arms:
“Because that’s what men do. Men in Texas fight each other and shave their arms—it’s just what they do.”

Brendon on love and relationships:
“Why buy the milk when you can get the cow for free?”
Rachel “Am I a cow to you Brendon?”

That’s it for now.  It should be an interesting week for the Brigade given the power shift and the confirmation of Hayden and Kristin’s “showmance.”  I can’t wait to see how it plays out and who you think is sneaky enough to wear the title of Saboteur next week. Thanks everyone.


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