On July 12, JimHeath.TV questioned how Big Brother could be recorded and aired during a pandemic.
CBS has yet to fully answer that question.
The producers of the long-running reality TV show have never been quick to be transparent.
For years, we have asked questions to CBS about casting and ongoing concerns about racism and ageism.
But you get the sense the decision making taking place behind-the-scenes this summer borders on dangerous.
There are rumors that two previous winners of Big Brother – Josh Martinez, winner of Big Brother 19, and Kaycee Clark, winner of Big Brother 20 – may both have tested positive for COVID-19 prior to being placed in quarantine.
There is no question producers would like to have them both inside the house.
There has been enormous pressure by CBS bosses that the cast include as many previous winners as possible.
Martinez and Clark would add some firepower to an All Star season that will also include former champions Ian Terry (Season 14) and Nicole Franzel (Season 18).
Typically, a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 can return to work 14 days after their first symptom, if their symptoms are gone and they have no fever.
CBS could have Martinez and Clark isolated with the hope they can get an all-clear from a doctor just as the season starts next week.
A source with contact to the show told us that the not-knowing of how those test results will come out is the reason CBS shut down a cast reveal that had been promoted for July 29.
With a week to go before the premiere, producers still don’t have a final cast roster for the show.
The above message was abruptly removed on Monday, replaced with a notice about the August 5 premiere.
One of the networks other mega reality shows, “Survivor,” was bumped from the fall schedule because it has yet to find a way to safely start production on its new season.
‘I just don’t see it happening,’ a former Big Brother contestant told JimHeath.TV via email earlier this month. ‘It’s too dangerous, and CBS will never take the risk of getting people in the house and someone in production getting sick, closing the whole thing down halfway thru a season.’
But CBS has given the green light to BB22, insisting the crew (no mention of host Julie Chen) can live inside a bubble for the next three months.
“With Love Island and Big Brother, we still hope to have on the air this summer, it could be a little later than usual but we’re still optimistic about getting those on,” Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, told Deadline in May. “Those shows turn around pretty quickly, Big Brother has live shows every week and Love Island literally airs the night after it shoots, those shows do not have long post processes.”
In order to comply with evolving health and safety guidelines amid the pandemic, CBS shared that houseguests are undergoing a quarantine period prior to being sequestered in the house with each other.
During this quarantine, they will be tested for COVID-19 “several times,” and then once inside the house, they will continue to receive weekly testing during the season.
Any supplies delivered to them during the run of the show will be disinfected prior to being dropped off.
CBS also said the houseguests will not have contact with any crew members, and all staff and crew will also be given COVID-19 tests prior to beginning work.
They will be screened daily for symptoms and required to wear PPE and work in pods to enhance social distancing.
For the first time, the show will be hiring a COVID-19 compliance officer to monitor and enforce all health and safety protocols.
In addition, for further safety, the live eviction show will not feature a studio audience this year.
Those strict coronavirus protocols are already affecting how the game will played this summer.
If the show goes on, here’s what we know as fact:
Former champions Dan Gheesling (season 10) and Derrick Levasseur (season 16) are not playing.
Been tagged in #BB22 rumors regarding my participation…none of them are remotely close to the truth.
I understand the thirst for cast ☕️ is unquenchable right now but tomorrow we find out who the players are!
Everyone just chill & be nice to the HGs (and each other) 😃
— Dan Gheesling (@DanGheesling) July 26, 2020
My business with my friends is between us.
But I will say this: there is ZERO truth to the rumor that Nicole had anything to do with me not being on the show..
So any supporters of mine: Please don’t blame her.
I did what was best for my family.
— Derrick Levasseur (@DerrickL) July 27, 2020
Two-time runner-up Paul Abrahamian is also staying out.
— DEADSKULL (@deadskulltweets) July 27, 2020
The rumored cast has been the subject of speculation this past week, with the latest lineup looking like this:
Our source close to the show maintains, however, that both Josh Martinez and Kaycee Clark are still “probable” for the cast if they clear their coronavirus checkup next week.
And thus the reason why there will be no early reveal that CBS had hoped for earlier this month.
“Big Brother All Stars” premieres 9-11 p.m. Aug. 5, and will air 8-9 p.m. Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.