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Big Brother producer on mystery houseguests and brand new twists

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Sonja Flemming//CBS

The 12 suckers contestants who have been revealed as contestants on Big Brother 18 are already in the house and making mischief. And their antics will be aired on the season premiere at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS. But what about the contestants that have not been revealed?

Twelve is a mighty small number of players for the show, especially considering this season is the show’s longest stay yet at 99 days. And one eagle-eyed viewer caught a recent Canadian promo for the show that teased “Who are the mystery guests?” while showing four generic silhouetted frames with oversized question marks.

We asked Big Brother executive producer Allison Grodner about that promo and the alleged mystery guests when she called into Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) Tuesday morning. “That’s funny. I didn’t know about it,” Grodner said of the promo. “At this point, 12 people will be moving in for sure. And if you know Big Brother, as I know you do, we haven’t had 12 people in the house since season 2 or season 1. [Ed. Note: Season 3 also had 12 contestants.] So it’s been a long time, so chances are there will be more people. The question is, who will they be? You will find out tomorrow night during the first night premiere.”

As for the contestants we do know about, Grodner commented on the fact that this cast also contains two siblings of former players: Paulie Calafiore (the older brother of Zac Efron-obsessed season 16 runner-up Cody) and Tiffany Rousso (the younger sister of last season’s third-place finisher, Vanessa). “Sort of a coincidence that they ended up applying and being part of the same season,” says Grodner. “And they’re both siblings of some very memorable and good players. It will be interesting to see if they can be as good or better than their brother or sister.”

RELATED: Big Brother Season 18: Meet the 12 New Houseguests

While Grodner would not comment on whether the show was aware of contestant Corey Brooks’ anti-gay slurs on social media (“We don’t discuss the casting process so I can’t get into that unfortunately. I can’t answer that.”), she did reiterate the show’s position on when to air offensive comments on the TV version of the show after they happen. “We show everything always because we’re streaming live,” says Grodner. “As far as the show, ultimately when it becomes part of the story in the narrative that we’re telling on the show — which, as you saw in season 15, there were some good examples of that. There were quite a few good examples of that, unfortunately, and we used the incidents that were ultimately part of the story.”

She continued: “Once it was part of the interactions between everyone in the house and came to a head in some of those more memorable incidents, we used that in the show. If it was just something that didn’t ultimately impact the game or impact other members of the house in an interaction, we weren’t just going to show it to show hateful speech. So that’s where we were a couple of years ago and we still stand by that. We’ll show it when it is part of the story that we’re telling in the broadcast. And ultimately we consider the live feeds part of the show, so it is out there for sure for everyone to see in this social experiment.”

As for new twists, Grodner hints to keep your eye on the house… as in the actual house. “We have the craziest summer vacation ever, and the house has that theme. The rooms are different cities and destinations. There are phone booths and phones — of course not to call out, but to call each other. At some point it could be revealed that these will play into another twist. And we will learn on night one that the house theme plays a big role in a game twist that the houseguests will be faced with. All of this is intertwined, and more so than we have in the past.”

But what about a Big Brother favorite that has been absent from recent years — Pandora’s Box? “It’s been a while,” says Grodner of the twist that could unleash both good and/or bad things upon the houseguests when activated by a Head of Household. “We were doing that for a while and we always like to mix things up. You may see it again or you say see it in a different way. I’ll tease that — we might have another use for that room that we use for Pandora’s Box this summer.”

You know what they say: expect the unexpected.

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