'Big Brother 18': Julie Chen Opens Up About the Secret Room and the Future of "Battle Back"

Big Brother_Julie Chen - Publicity - H 2016
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Big Brother_Julie Chen - Publicity - H 2016

This season of Big Brother season 18 runs for 99 days and so far there has been twist, after twist, after twist.

The first came with this season's cast announcement in what was coined as a semi-twist where the siblings of former players Vanessa Rousso and Cody Calafiore were given a crack at the $500,000 prize. Next was the move to insert four returning players, Nicole Franzel, James Huling, Da'Vonne Rogers and Frank Eudy, back in the game. Then the houseguests were informed that they would be playing in teams this season. And that wasn't all. The houseguests were then clued in on the "BB Roadkill" where there would be three nominees this summer. Most recently, on Friday, the "Battle Back" twist was finally revealed to the remaining houseguests as Victor Arroyo made his return to the game. Is everyone all caught up?

And that's not all. There's one more twist this season in the form of the secret room. (Although the results have already been revealed on the live feeds, they haven't made it to air yet so no spoilers here.) To get the inside scoop on the latest twist and more, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with host Julie Chen.

How would you rate the "Battle Back" twist compared to twists from past seasons?

I think it's great because we've never had someone who was evicted so early on get to be back in the house. It usually plays out after the first half of the summer is over and, especially for the first person evicted every summer, we hardly get to know that person. To give them that second shot -- unfortunately for Glenn [Garcia], he just didn't have it in him to beat Jozea [Flores].

I felt so bad for Glenn!

I know! He's a good guy, especially the way he got evicted, it was such a photo finish between him and Corey. It wasn't like he was terrible at it and was in dead last. So I would've liked to see Glenn get back in the house and see how that would have shaken up the game. 

Would you want the "Battle Back" to return for future seasons? 

I don't know if I would... I wouldn't repeat this twist because it's too specific to a one-time gag. You can have other things that will impact the game in just as big of a way, but to have it exactly as "Battle Back," no, I just don't see us doing it again. 

With the results of Victor getting back in the game, it seems like it will further Paul's game more than Victor's. Do you agree?

No! I don't think it's going to. I think it could hurt Paul because Victor is not playing the smartest game and he is also coming back in with a little bit of a target on his back. Not much has changed; the same reason they wanted him out before they're going to want him out again. So Paul has to be careful with being too loyal and playing too closely aligned with Victor. If anything this is going to be problematic for Paul. 

Had it not been Frank, James, Da'Vonne and Nicole as the returning players this season, who would you have wanted to come back? 

That's easy! Janelle [Pierzina], for sure! Evel Dick [Donato]. I always liked Dr. Will [Kirby] and the fourth one, let me think about that... well, Will and Mike Boogie are funny together so I guess they're kind of a package deal!

Would they have played a better game than the returning players we have this season?

Dr. Will definitely would have because we've seen him win it once and take it so far the second time. Janelle we know is so good at competitions, so yes. I'm not sure about Evel Dick. Mike Boogie won it once. So you got two former winners definitely and Janelle, who we've seen win competition after competition and not have to be a phony and suck up to people she doesn't like. Wait a minute, Evel Dick, he won also! So yes, that's an all-star team coming back if it was those four. 

Who did you think would discover the secret room?

Part of me [thought] it would be one of the returners since they are just so much more savvy, but out of all of them, James isn't particularly competitive. I thought it would be Frank. 

Did you think he had enough time to find the secret room for the live eviction?

Well, that's the question! 

Who were you rooting for to discover it?

Not Frank! That I can tell you. I was rooting for a while for Da'Vonne, but now I don't think she's the most loyal.

You said it best, Tiffany is emotional just like her sister. Paulie, is a flirt just like his brother. Now Tiffany is evicted, but which of them has played the most like their Big Brother sibling?

Tiffany played it more like Vanessa [Rousso]. Paulie is playing a better and harder game on his own. Cody [Calafiore] was just Derrick [Levasseur's] first lieutenant. He had this Big Brother figure in the house guiding the ship. Paulie is playing his own game. Whereas Tiffany, being emotional, crying a lot -- that is like Vanessa, but Vanessa was much more skilled at playing people and talking her way out of situations and using emotion as a weapon to get farther.

Your husband, CBS chairman, president and CEO Les Moonves, was rooting for James last season. Does he have a favorite this season?

No. Probably still James, he loves that guy!

Who are you now rooting for this season?

I do still like James this season, but it's hard to root for someone who you don't feel is that motivated to win. I think James is just in it to have fun this summer, just for like summer vacation. He doesn't seem like he cares if he wins it or not so he's not that hungry. I'm rooting for Paulie at this point! He's playing a smart game, he's pretty level-headed, he's good at winning competitions and he's well liked in the house. He seems like a decent kid.

Is Paulie playing a better game than Cody? What would a season with Janelle, Evel Dick, Dr. Will and Mike Boogie look like? Would you watch? Who are you rooting for this season? Sound off in the comments section below and stay tuned to The Live Feed for all things Big Brother