Fan favourite reality series Big Brother Canada is back tonight for its sixth season! We got to chat with host Arisa Cox on the amazing fan-led movement that brought the show back for an even bigger season, her thoughts on the first-ever U.S. celebrity edition and how intense the game will get as soon as it premieres tonight.
I’d love to get your thoughts on Big Brother: Celebrity Edition. It was a great appetizer for our main course, which is Big Brother Canada…
That is a great way to look at it! I loved it! I was so impressed with the level of gameplay and I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve watched the UK edition and this was so different, where it’s not the country voting people out. Some of these people came to play but then we had some people that were ready to leave. That threw a wrench into people’s plans!
That was unfortunate.
I believe both of those evictions had big blindsides about to go down but then they were foiled. That being said, it was such an interesting end [when Marissa Jaret Winokur won over Ross Mathews]. It was such an absurd end to an absurd season. I’ve never seen someone try so hard to lose and then win.
Was it an emotional jury? Do you feel like they didn’t want to give it Ross even though that’s how you’re supposed to play the game to win?
There are two parts to the game… One is to get to “final two,” and the other part of the game is making all those people who you voted out, want to vote for you [to win]. You cannot have one or the other. Paul [Abrahamian; U.S. seasons 18 & 19] will tell you that! That’s twice in a row now that he made that fatal error of not understanding that you have to know how to talk to these people that you have backstabbed in order to want to award you the money. There are kind of two camps. There’s the jury management camp and then there’s the bitter jury camp. I definitely fall into the jury management camp. I think that there is so much that a player can do to alter how people see their games and most thing that people want is to see you own your game. If you can’t do that, then they won’t award you the money. Ross is a really good example of someone who played a really superior game in every way from his opponent in the final two, but he couldn’t own his game… So he wasn’t awarded the win! One of the jury questions was “What was your biggest lie?” His answer was “My biggest lie wasn’t really a lie.” I was like “No. Stop yourself. Please. This is how you lose.” And then he lost.
Who would you cast for a Canadian edition of Celebrity Big Brother?
I’d love to see Justin Bieber, Andrea Martin, Russell Peters, [YouTube star] Lilly Singh, [Schitt’s Creek co-stars] Catherine O’Hara and Dan Levy and all the kids from Odd Squad! Honestly, I think that the key for a celebrity edition of Big Brother is not going for your A-Listers, it’s going for people who make great reality television. It’s sometimes a different animal, you know?
Exactly. A lot of people were like “Omarosa, really?” But she’s great TV.
She was great TV, but try telling that to someone who didn’t watch this season and they would not understand.
I appreciate that you are actually a Big Brother fan.
Oh, I am! I’ve got my card laminated. I am a super-fan. I could talk game for hours, as you probably know. That’s what’s so great about this show. It brings people who are hardcore super fans from around the world, and also people who are dipping in to watch a fun show with their kids, parents, or friends. It’s a special kind of show.
This new season of Big Brother Canada almost didn’t happen. I think that everyone is excited that it did come back this year.
It’s kind of amazing that we’re back. We are so grateful to all our friends who really fought for us to come back. We hold that as a badge of honour.
That was heartbreaking when it wasn’t on Global’s new schedule during the presentation. I thought there was a mistake or thought, “Did I not get the full schedule?”
Yeah, people were very confused. I just love that the fans were not having any of it and they fought. It’s one thing to be sad about a cancellation or hiatus of your favourite show, but it’s another thing to have a network respect your fans enough to say, “You know what, this is what you want and we’re going to give you what you want.” I think for me, that [announcement]was the most fun that I’ve ever had in my television career because it’s so rare that something like that happens. It’s such a miracle. We’re so grateful to be back. So, we really wanted to bring our A game more than ever before. Our cast is really really strong. The “Heaven & Hell” theme is awesome. The house design is crazy. Really, we’re going back to what Big Brother is at its heart, which is a social experiment. Watching this push and pull between good and evil that exists in all of us — let alone the viewers!
This new season of Big Brother Canada has a “Heaven & Hell” theme… What more can you tell us about it?
I think that we’re going to really have fun with this theme and we’ve got some great thinks cooked up. You definitely want to be watching the premiere tonight at 7 p.m. on Global. The game goes into hyperdrive immediately… That’s all I can tell you without having to murder you!
There will be 14 houseguests that’ll go into the house during the premiere but then viewers have the choice to pick two more. When will they go into the house? Will there still be a chance to vote after the premiere?
Definitely watch the premiere and they’ll find out what to do and how to vote. As of now, people are still voting at BigBrotherCanada.ca to send one man and one woman into the house. That’s going to be really thrilling. We did something similar in season four with Tim Dormer and Nikki Grahame coming in, as well as season two with the secret room. I’m really thrilled to see how it all plays out. I’m not ready to lose any of them [the houseguests]. I can’t believe that the first eviction is on Thursday! It’s crazy.
Do you have any picks this season?
I always say this, but they’re like my kids! I can’t choose who I like better because I like them all. All these people have shown that they are willing to put it all out there. Do you know how brave that is? To say, “Yes, I’m going to open myself up to applause, congratulations, but also possibly ridicule or humiliation?” That takes a very strong individual. I’ve played on reality TV before, so I know how hard that is and how easy it looks. So, I really care about all the people who are playing our game. I’m really like our cast. We’ve got a lot of gamers, big personalities, and funny people. I can’t even imagine the moments that we’re going to get because Big Brother is all about unpredictability. Always expect the unexpected. People you don’t expect to be stars become stars and people who you expect to win the game, hardly make it through the first couple of episodes! It’s chaos and we love it!
Big Brother Canada airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET/PT and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Episodes will be made available on demand, the Global Go app, and at GlobalTV.com follow its broadcast airings.