We recently asked Big Brother fans to rank all the show’s winners from first to worst. The results were intriguing and can be seen right here. But what about the host with the most? Whom does she consider the best Big Brother winner ever? Julie Chen called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105) recently to talk about the current season so we entered the question into the Chenbot supercomputer to see what sort of answer it spit out.
“I’m going to say Rachel Reilly,” answers Chen of the season 13 champ, and her reasoning gets to the fact that the unlikely winner with the unmistakable laugh had to overcome so much to take the title. “Because she turned that ship around at the 11th hour. She had everyone against her — a power couple, her and Brendon. She was also seen as very obnoxious in the house, a little bit of a troublemaker, a loudmouth. And she had everything stacked up against her. But she pulled it out by winning competitions and ultimately, when you get the jury to vote after you have pissed off so many people, that says a lot. And I’m going to throw it in there — being a woman.”
Chen likes the brash personality that Rachel put out there — playing an aggressive game instead of a safe one, perhaps best exemplified by her famous “Floaters you better grab a life vest” declaration. “Yeah, that took some guts to say that,” remarks Chen. “She called people out. She wasn’t there to make friends. She just held on to her boyfriend…. Well, he was kind of clinging on to her. She was kind of pulling him along.”
But what about some of the other famous Big Brother winners over the years? “People might say Will Kirby,” notes Chen (and they did, as our fan rankings show). “But Will Kirby stabbed you in the front with a smile. And he had this charm going for him. So he was kind of a villain, but he was a charming villain. He wasn’t an obvious, ‘Oh, I can’t stand him.’ He had a way of disarming people. And Dan Gheesling, I thought of saying his name because he turned it around with staging his own funeral. He came in ruthless the second time around. He wasn’t a nice guy anymore.”
However the host is sticking with her pick of Reilly. “Rachel Reilly really turned me around, and if you can turn me around, that says a lot. I remember coming into work one day and saying, ‘You know, I hope she takes it all.’ And she did! And I didn’t feel like that at the beginning of that season. I was like, ‘Oh my God with this one!’ But there was something really refreshing about her being who she was, not making any excuses, and then taking that check for half a million dollars.”
To hear our entire interview with Chen — as well as our chats with Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and The Defenders’ Charlie Cox — you can listen to the EW Morning Live podcast above. Or subscribe on iTunes to listen on the go. And for more Big Brother nonsense, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.