Expect the unexpected indeed. While the coronavirus pandemic has shut down Hollywood (and the world) the past few months, CBS is optimistic that production will be able to resume in the summer to not only bring fans new fall programming but one of its staples that is synonymous with summer: “Big Brother.”
In an interview discussing CBS’ fall lineup with “The Hollywood Reporter,” CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl says that the network is hoping to be able to film “Big Brother” and its newest summer reality hit “Love Island” this summer. “The key difference on those shows is the turnaround time is quick,” Kahl stated. “‘Big Brother’ airs live shows every week. ‘Love Island’ is essentially a one-day turnaround. If we can get into production, and we certainly anticipate that, we anticipate having those shows on this summer.”
On Tuesday, CBS unveiled its new fall schedule, which includes a mix of unscripted and scripted shows, even though it’s still unclear when it will be safe to resume production (Fox, on the other hand, revealed a coronavirus-proof schedule last week, with scripted and reality programming that’s already in the can). CBS’ summer schedule, announced last month, did not include either “Big Brother,” which is heading into its 22nd season, or “Love Island,” which is heading into its second.
“Big Brother” typically premieres at the end of June and last three months — last season was 99 days long — and you could argue that it is perhaps the “safest” show to film in the time of COVID-19 since it’s about a bunch of people stuck inside a house. Just test and quarantine them all for two weeks first, right? Yeah, but don’t forget about the crew, the control room, and everyone who has to come in and out of the house to build and tear down all the comps, and Julie Chen Moonves.
Should production be able to resume, Kahl says the network will take “all precautions” to protect the casts and crew. “Everyone’s health and safety is going to be taken into consideration,” he said.
“Big Brother” has aired every summer since it premiered in July 2000. The series, which has spawned the online-only spin-off “Over the Top” and two celebrity editions, also aired a winter season in February 2008 during the writers’ strike.