Julie Chen Moonves has an insane 'Celebrity Big Brother' theory


We thought Julie Chen Moonves might have been messing with us when she made her sly prediction for who would emerge as the season 3 winner of Celebrity Big Brother (which premieres tonight on CBS). But it turns out that was the mere appetizer. Because when we got in touch with the host for another chat leading into the season, she dropped a full entrée of insanity all over us.

The exchange began innocently enough, when we asked the Chenbot about the shortened four-week stay for the celebrity version of the show, and how the accelerated extra crispy nature of the game (with at least 2 players being evicted each week) differs from the original Big Brother recipe. It was then that the host dropped the bombshell to end all bombshells.

"This game was made for Frenchie," replied Moonves.

HOLD ON! FULL STOP! You mean Frenchie, as in the player who flamed out in epic fashion last summer in the Big Brother house? For those who need a reminder, Brandon "Frenchie" French started the game on fire, winning the first two competitions in which he played and seemingly making alliances with almost everyone while serving as season 23's first Head of Household.

But Frenchie also made too many promises of safety to too many people, and when he started reneging on those promises and continuously changing plans and targets, he alienated himself from even his biggest allies in the house. As a result, Frenchie went straight from the penthouse to out of the house by a decisive 11-1 count just a week after giving up his HOH reign. It was perhaps the biggest self-sabotage job in the history of the show. Which bring us back to the host's take that the celebrity version of the game was "made for Frenchie." To paraphrase a current celebrity contestant… whatchutalkinbout, Julie?

But wait! Allow her to explain. Because JCM may actually have an interesting point here to consider. "He went in already with a plan," says Moonves of Frenchie's warp-speed approach. "He was playing hard, and fast, and too much. And so what changes is that, yeah, you want to quickly be like, 'Let's hug, hug, hug. Cry, cry, cry. Fight, fight, fight. Get it out, compete, make a deal. Let me turn my back on you.' It's like you don't really get to rest in the celebrity version because we are evicting someone every couple of days. Every Monday and Friday nights are our eviction night."

Of course, while the host feels the lightning speed of Celebrity Big Brother may have better suited Frenchie's style, she also sees a valuable lesson in how the overalls-loving one's early success went to his head. And she also wonders if celebrities acclimating to not being in charge could be an issue for some of the famous faces now playing the game: "Don't get too drunk with power. It's not going to not last too long. And you better start thinking about what's ahead. So it's like a pressure cooker. You know it always is anyway, but the celebrity version with celebrity egos that maybe they're not used to being picked last, or not winning, or not being told 'Yes' — it's a lot of drama just built in."

We also spoke with Moonves about the possibility of some celebrity smack-downs, whom she thinks will be the fan favorites this season, and with whom she would form an alliance with if she were playing. The host also makes a bold prediction for something that will go down during the course of the season, and no, it does not involve Frenchie bursting through the doors proclaiming, "I'm back!"

BIG BROTHER: Celebrity Edition

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I asked the cast to make some bold predictions for this season, and a few of them said they thought there would be some big fights in the house, and there actually were quite a bit of fireworks during the last Celebrity Big Brother. So do you think this cast is going to be mixing it up a bit, and, if so, who do you think is going to be at the center of things?

JULIE CHEN MOONVES:  Of course there are going to be fights. It's Big Brother. It's one bathroom and it's 11 celebrities who are used to being numero uno. So that recipe alone tells you there's going to be some bruised egos, and because of the game, has a lot to do with like, "Are you going to keep your word? Are you going to betray someone that you became besties with 45 minutes into moving into the house?"

But if I had to guess if there was going to be fights, I'd be foolish to say some names in my head right now because they're probably going to be best friends and then I'm going to look like a jerk. Chenbot doesn't like being wrong.

So what's your bold prediction for season 3 of Celebrity Big Brother?

My bold prediction is that Shanna Moakler and Lamar Odom are going to fall in love. And it's going to be called Meet the Odoms.

You have spin-off ideas dancing in your head already.

I'm producing it in my head.

With whom would you form an alliance in this cast if you were playing, Julie?

Okay, my heart would form an alliance with Todd Bridges because I love Diff'rent Strokes. My heart would also form an alliance, even though I don't think it would be a wise game move, with Lamar Odom because he's from Queens, I'm from Queens. He has two NBA rings, I have two NBA rings. He loved Jesus. I love Jesus. But I don't think he knows the game that well, so that'd probably be a mistake.

And I love Chris Kattan, another mistake. That's my heart speaking because I'm of a certain age. I loved Mango. I have to realize he's not Mango. He's not even the guy from A Night at Roxbury. But I honestly think I would probably form an alliance with Carson Kressley and Todrick Hall, and I think that it would be us three taking on the world.

Celebrity Big Brother Todd Bridges, Miesha Tate, and Chris Katttan

You'll have to show me your NBA title rings at some point, Julie. And it's interesting, because you mentioned to me last week Chris Kattan might have a tough time because apparently he's never had a roommate in his entire life before.

I loved when he revealed that because then I was like, "Oh, what are you, a rich kid?" And he was like, "No, I actually went to college with my dad." I was like, "Oh, I like this. I like where this story's going. There's a story there. I like you, Chris Kattan." I have to remember that he is not Mango, and doesn't really know this game that well, on top of never having to share a bathroom — one toilet with 10 people who are not related to you, so your patience is going to run really thin.

But I'm rooting for him because it's been a while since the height of his fame. And I'm still a fan. I mean, in my mind, Mango was two weeks ago. As a matter of fact, I have nicknamed my sister's rescue dog Mango because her real name is Delilah, but I call her Mango Delilah because she's got that energy of Mango, you know? She's a little bit wirey.

Who's going to be the fan favorite this season? Who's going to be the player that people are going to be pulling for?

My two alliance members, I think, are going to be the fan favorites: Todrick Hall and Carson Kressley. But I also think a lot of people who already love Cynthia Bailey. I didn't watch Real Housewives of Atlanta, but I understand she's a fan favorite from that group. I think she's going to continue with that. And I think Shanna Moakler is going to be the person that people are fascinated with, and that could go either way, or both ways, depending on who you are as a fan.

Big Brother usually tends to have casts more in their 20s, but this is almost all people in their 40s and 50s. That's got to be a different game just right there, right?

And we're still going to have endurance challenges, so that is something to watch. And let me tell you something: Just because you have two NBA championship rings, speaking from experience, does that mean you can make it in an endurance challenge on the Big Brother wall, or that thing you have to hang onto? It doesn't, Lamar Odom — especially being like, what is he, six-foot-ten? I don't know. Something like that. Could be taller. I don't even know.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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