Julie Chen Moonves Says She's 'Excited' to Have More Diversity in the Big Brother Season 23 Cast
In November, CBS pledged that future casts of their reality shows would contain at least 50 percent Black, indigenous and people of color
Ahead of the season 23 premiere on Wednesday, Chen Moonves told Entertainment Weekly that she's "excited" about the current cast — the first since CBS pledged that future casts of their reality shows would contain at least 50 percent Black, indigenous and people of color.
"In summers past, we've seen some people who are used to their bubble, where their world outside of the Big Brother house is not very diverse, and then they behave in a way that is unacceptable," Chen Moonves told the outlet.
The TV personality, 51, added, "So hopefully with this diverse cast, those who are, quote-unquote, minorities, are going to be able to have deep conversations and school people who maybe come from a neighborhood or an area where there's not a lot of diversity."
CBS first announced the diversity pledge in November, noting that it would apply to all reality series for the 2021-2022 season, including Survivor and Love Island, in addition to Big Brother.
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"The reality TV genre is an area that's especially underrepresented and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling," George Cheeks, president and chief executive officer for the CBS Entertainment Group said in a statement at the time, according to EW.
"As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our network," he added.
In the months prior — amid the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that followed the murder of George Floyd — cast members of color from reality competition shows like Big Brother and Survivor spoke out about how much harder it could be for them to succeed, especially because white players tend to form alliances with other white people.
"There's either unconscious bias or affinity bias — you naturally bond with someone that you think has the same background as you or something in common. Even if it's like, 'Hey, your name is Julie too?' You know? Something as silly as that," Chen Moonves told EW. "You might have nothing in common other than that name. But yeah, it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I'm excited about it."
"We've never shied away from addressing any racial issue that comes out," she later added. "We air it, and then when the person ends up leaving the house, they get questioned on it. And for better or for worse, that person gets judged and tried on the internet. And the hope is that people will own it, learn from it, and move on from it. And everyone can move on from it. If someone truly changes and apologizes, who are any of us to judge?"
Season 23 of Big Brother premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and Paramount+. Beginning Sunday, July 11, it will air Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m.