The longtime host, 52, opened up about this year’s theme, house design and twists, keeping details very vague, ahead of the live premiere.
“I think the big headline is [that] the first live eviction night is going to be unlike any eviction night we’ve ever had because it may not be one of the people that you think that ends up getting bounced that night,” she exclusively explains to Us Weekly. “These houseguests aren’t going to learn of this new twisted twist until that night. So your head is gonna be spinning this season.”
To clarify, the nominated houseguests may not be the ones going home. “There are so many twists and turns this season and challenges that are so much harder that you’re gonna have a hard time just figuring out how to survive in the house,” she says.
While we have yet to meet the cast of “16 brand new houseguests” or see the newly designed abode, Julie says the house has a very “mid-century Palm Springs feel” with neon lights. “We’re calling it the ‘BB Motel,’” she adds. “You can check in, but you can’t check out. You don’t really wanna check out (laughs). You don’t wanna get evicted. You wanna stay in the BB Motel. So it has that whole feel to it this year. Retro.”
In addition to the house concept, she says there will be a weekly theme of the summer called “the BB Fest,” explaining, “Every week throughout the summer, you’re going to see different themes, like a music fest, a comedy fest, a renaissance fest. But my personal favorite – I think most people will agree – is going to be the Zing Fest.”
The premiere will once again feature a live move-in of all the houseguests and “as soon as these groups move in, they’re each gonna have their own unique competition,” Julie reveals without saying much else other than that they won’t exactly be in teams but “kinda?” She also says America will have a chance to vote “with a new twist that will send the houseguests scrambling” starting on premiere night.
“I’m just excited for the fans to see these new twists and turns and challenges,” she adds. “Like we always say, expect the unexpected, but this really is next level like we’ve never done before. It’s going to keep all of us on our toes, not just the houseguests, but us viewers.”
Watch our full interview with Julie Chen Moonves above or scroll down to read.
Big Brother 24 premieres on CBS Wednesday, July 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Us Weekly: Hi Julie! So what can you tell us about Big Brother 24?
Julie Chen Moonves: You’re gonna see 16 brand new houseguests on premiere night, which is a 90-minute premiere. As soon as they get in the house, it’s game on. The challenges are next level this season. It is brand new challenges you’ve never seen before. So you really need to be tough to make it in the Big Brother house. I think the big headline is [that] the first live eviction night is going to be unlike any eviction night we’ve ever had because it may not be one of the people that you think that ends up getting bounced that night. These houseguests aren’t going to learn of this new twisted twist until that night. So your head is gonna be spinning this season.
Us: So if you’re on the block, it doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going home?
Us: Is this gonna be revealed on premiere night or at the first eviction?
JCM: No, no. I don’t even think to the audience until probably earlier in the hour of live eviction night, and then later in the hour on live eviction night to the houseguests. There are so many twists and turns this season and challenges that are so much harder that you’re gonna have a hard time just figuring out how to survive in the house.
Us: What is the theme this summer?
JCM: There is a theme. I mean, it’s not, like, secret summer or whatever. The theme this year is “the BB Fest.” Every week throughout the summer, you’re going to see different themes, like a music fest, a comedy fest, a renaissance fest. But my personal favorite – I think most people will agree – is going to be the Zing Fest. It’s gonna be the funniest one at least.
Us: What about the house? Have you seen it? What can you tell us about the design?
JCM: No, I haven’t been to the house yet because of COVID protocol. We’re trying to keep everyone in their bubble until it’s go time. But I do know that the theme of the house is this very Palm Springs, mid-century Palm Springs feel – neon lights. We’re calling it the “BB Motel,” you know, you can check in, but you can’t check out. You don’t really wanna check out (laughs). You don’t wanna get evicted. You wanna stay in the BB Motel. So it has that whole feel to it this year. Retro.
Us: They changed the stairs recently, we’ve added a door to the bathroom … Any other major structural changes like that?
JCM: Yes. We’re gonna have a tiki bar at the bridge upstairs outside the HOH suite. And we’re going to have a gym that feels like it’s a spin class. There’s lots of bikes and a rowing machine. So, you know, these Big Brother houseguests need something to keep busy.
Us: You mentioned the twist for eviction night. Is that something that will be popping up more or are we just doing it once?
JCM: Well, that’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to that (laughs). I think it’s something that’s going to be a twist, if you will, that will last for, like, the first half of the summer. Cause that twist, you know, I don’t think you can do, based on numbers, until you get past like the halfway point or almost the halfway point of the summer.
Us: We have a live move-in again. Tell me about that.
JCM: We have a live move-in, which is the third time we’re doing it. We started that at the beginning of the pandemic, which was a challenge in itself. So live move-in. As soon as these groups move in, they’re each gonna have their own unique competition.
Us: So are they separated into teams?
JCM: So far? No. Kinda? Kinda with teams?
Us: By move-in groups or?
JCM: No, I know not by move-in groups. ‘Cause we have to kind of give them the choice to make.
Us: And we don’t have live audience for this premiere, right?
JCM: Right now, it’s not a live audience. Whether or not that changes by the end of the season, I hope it does. We were going to try and start with the live audience, but at the last minute, we had to scrap that idea.
Us: This season will be, like, 80 something days. What do you think about shorter seasons?
JCM: I don’t have a preference. You’re right. It is shorter. Because of the live load-in, and we’re premiering in July, as opposed to, we used to not do a live load-in [and] do it around June, like, 19th, 18th, something like that, and then make you guys wait. We would let story develop in the house and then present the premiere and kind of go from there. I think for the house guests, after probably one week, one week probably feels like a month. I think whether it’s 82 days or 92 days, they probably could not tell the difference.
Us: I know you mentioned it’s an all newbie season. Have you seen the cast? Any casting twists?
JCM: I have seen the cast and I’m excited about this cast. What I love is seeing how they present themselves when they’re trying to get picked to be on Big Brother, and then seeing who they really are once the season starts. You go in, you think, “Oh, I love this one and this one I’m not so sure about.” And then you have to expect the unexpected. People, you never know what they’re selling and if they’re really selling who they are, and then your opinion changes of them a couple of weeks in. Some people will disappoint. Some people will be pleasantly surprised. But that’s always exciting getting to know these new personalities and see seeing how their chemistry, you know, what develops between people and hopefully showmances.
Us: I asked fans what they want to know from you. They’re curious what you think about big alliances that tend to run the game. Is there any way to combat that? Do you ever find yourself frustrated watching them and rooting for the underdogs?
JCM: I’m always rooting for the underdog, I think. I think the only way to combat that is you need two big alliances that divide the house in half, and they need to be strong. They need to be equally matched up with each other. That’s a dynamic that’s hard to create because strong players tend to bond with the other strong players, and then form a quick group. But you never know. I mean, look at what happened on Celebrity Big Brother. The others had the numbers and then Todrick [Hall] and Miesha [Tate], they kind of ran things. It didn’t help that some of the numbers on the other side were literally learning the game as they were going through the motions, you know?
Us: Last year, The Cookout made it all the way to the end. They made history crowning the first Black winner. How, if at all, do you think that might affect the gameplay this season?
JCM: Well, I think everyone’s gonna try and model that, whether or not they can pull it off. The Cookout almost didn’t pull it off. We saw dissension amongst themselves, people wanting to suddenly go into business for themselves and maybe not playing it totally on the up and up to their alliance members. Can that be recreated? I think people are gonna try, but all you need is like one fly in the ointment. You just need one person who goes rogue. That’s really hard. And I mean, for so long, for three months? Good luck. We’ll see. Expect the unexpected.
Us: I do have a pitch for you. We know finale night is live and we’re short on time. But as fans, we’d love to see the jury segment be longer and for them to get more questions. We’d also love to see the final two not be super rushed with their speeches. Can we make that happen?
JCM: I will put it more than just in the suggestion box, I’m gonna ask why don’t we do it this way.
Us: Just a little longer for the finale…
JCM: So you want more of that live jury asking? We usually pre-pick out who gets to ask and as a group, they agree on usually four questions, right? You want more of that?
Us: That, yeah. And then hearing from the final two. We’d love for them to answer questions and really be able to explain their games to the jury after three long months.
JCM: I’m going to ask. I don’t disagree with you and the fans. And I do feel like they feel rushed when they have their final speeches. I mean, it’s three quarters a million dollars. Give them another 30 seconds.
Us: Exactly. Thank you. And I gotta ask – what do you think about these Big Brother players going on The Challenge?
JCM: I’m very proud of them. I’m impressed. I think that they’re gonna represent well because I don’t think there is any other reality show that is quite as grueling as Big Brother, because it’s not only physical, these challenges have gotten tough, but it’s mental and there is no escape. Survivor, you can like hide away in a bush and, like, decompress, but all eyes are on you at all times in Big Brother. So I think it’s flattering that they asked who they asked, and I think they’re going to do well because of what they’ve been through on Big Brother.
Us: I know we have to wrap up but any other final teasers for Big Brother 24? Anything you’re excited for fans to see?
JCM: I’m just excited for the fans to see these new twists and turns and challenges. Like we always say, expect the unexpected, but this really is next level like we’ve never done before. It’s going to keep all of us on our toes, not just the houseguests, but us viewers.