CBS is staging its second ever All-Stars season of Big Brother, and the house is opening soon…with some changes.
Now it seems that at least some of those players will indeed get the chance to enter the fishbowl all over again, as CBS has announced the premiere date for season 22 of the summer guilty pleasure based all around quarantining inside a house, and the network has also officially revealed that it will indeed be a cast made up of former contestants. Big Brother: All-Stars will kick off Aug. 5 at 9 p.m. with a special “two-hour live move-in premiere event,” and then continue with its regular three-nights-a-week schedule on Sundays, Wednesday, and Thursdays at 8 p.m.
While Big Brother has brought back many players before in many different ways in many different seasons, this will be only the second installment of all returnees. The first was way back in 2006 for season 7, in a season that was also called Big Brother: All-Stars. In that one, Mike “Boogie” Malin defeated Erika Linden to take home the $500,000 prize.
As for the cast set to do battle this time around, CBS says that “the All-Star houseguests, including winners, finalists, legends, memorable personalities and some of the best to never win the game, will be announced closer to premiere.” However, TMZ reports that among the contestants already quarantining before they can be medically cleared to enter the house are season 18 winner Nicole Franzel, season 19 winner Josh Martinez, season 8 runner-up Daniele Donato, and season 18’s Paulie Calafiore — as well Janelle Pierzina, Ian Terry, Hayden Moss, Tyler Crispen, and Bayleigh Drayton from EW’s dream cast list.
While Big Brother traditionally begins airing much earlier in the summer — season 21 premiered June 19 — the later start date due to COVID-19 could actually be a programming blessing in disguise. With the fall TV schedule one huge question mark because of the coronavirus pandemic — and shows like Survivor already taken off of the fall schedule — CBS can conceivably run Big Brother deeper into autumn past its usual mid-to-late-September finale date to help fill any scheduling holes it may encounter due to other shows not being able to start production on time.
While the Big Brother: All-Stars players should be relatively safe once they enter the house since there is no in-person contact between the cast and crew, CBS revealed some of their safety precautions in a press release, noting that “The Big Brother production will follow specific health and safety protocols for COVID-19 with the welfare of everyone involved as the highest priority. Houseguests will undergo a quarantine period prior to production and will be tested several times prior to entering the House. Once inside, they will be tested weekly during the season and have no contact with any crew members, and all supplies delivered will be disinfected. In addition, the live show will not have a studio audience.”
It is also possible that certain elements of the show — like the traditional Battle Back Competition, in which eliminated players who have already been evicted from the house compete to get back in it — could be complicated due to people leaving and reentering the bubble.
As for how the program will handle the production side of the show, CBS said in the statement that “All staff and crew members will be tested prior to commencing work on a regular basis, as well as screened daily for symptoms. They’ll be required to wear PPE and will work in pods to enhance social distancing. In addition, a COVID-19 compliance officer will be on staff to monitor and enforce all health and safety COVID-19 protocols.”
Sadly, no word yet if the backyard pool will be drained and filled with Purell. Probably not a bad idea even in non-COVID seasons.