Big Brother Host Julie Chen Explains Why 'Everyone' Originally Hated The Show

Julie Chen Big Brother CBS

Big Brother recently celebrated 20 years on television, somewhat ironically at a point where the CBS reality series isn't actually able to air episodes when it normally would. The lack of houseguests being shut off from the rest of the world (for non-pandemic reasons) has sent the fandom in a tizzy, and has led to some rampant speculation about when Season 22 will finally air. But believe it or not, that hyper-kinetic fandom didn't always exist.

With all the chaos of the last few weeks, it may be surprising for some to learn there wasn't always a time where Big Brother was as beloved as it is now. Julie Chen spoke to Entertainment Tonight about some of the show's most shocking moments over the years, and she admitted that she'd never expected the show to reach this level of obsession considering the rather subdued way Season 1 was received. In her words:

Everyone hated Big Brother season 1. The critics hated it. They hated the show. It wasn't Survivor. They hated me -- I wasn't [Survivor's] Jeff Probst. I wrote it off. I was like, ‘Yeah, I'm not too crazy about it either.’

Not even Julie Chen seemed to understand Big Brother at the start, which is understandable. Survivor was more or less the new hot commodity for reality TV competitions, having premiered only two months prior. And despite the fact that the two shows relied on challenges and eliminations, Survivor was and is a wildly different show than Big Brother in so many ways even beyond tropical settings.

It's also worth noting that Season 1 of Big Brother was much different than what the series currently looks like. Critics called that inaugural season boring, which some would later blame on the overly safe casting for the contestants. There was very little tension in the house, especially compared to predecessors like The Real World.

There was even a point in which Big Brother competitors talked of organizing a massive walkout amid fears they weren't being accurately portrayed on television. Even Julie Chen was criticized for even being associated with the show due to her career and connections at CBS News, with 60 Minutes' Andy Rooney calling the decision a "further deterioration of news standards."

Obviously, audience reception has improved in big ways over the years, and just like Survivor is still on the air, Big Brother continues rolling strong each year. Season 22 has widely been rumored to be an all-star season, though the only real news we have on the season comes from credible sources and not CBS itself. This kind of rampant speculation isn't something viewers would've cared about nearly as much following Season 1, but after 21 seasons, there are some superfans going a bit crazy with no details having been confirmed.

Unfortunately, Julie Chen herself had no new information to share in regards to Big Brother Season 22, which is disappointing. The current belief is that the series may finally premiere sometime in August, so fans have been hoping to hear some official news from Chen or CBS in recent days, but have been let down with each passing week.

Big Brother Season 22 is supposedly still happening on CBS this summer, but continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more on the reality series, and for the latest news happening in the world of television and movies.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.