Celebrity Big Brother producer on Omarosa's asthma, quitters, and Sunday's finale
Celebrity Big Brother, we hardly got to mock ye!
After an action-packed three weeks, CBS’ first-ever U.S. celebrity version of its addictive summer mainstay will come to an end Sunday. “It’s been a crazy whirlwind,” admits executive producer Allison Grodner. “I can’t believe it’s almost over. It would be fun to see this go on a little bit more. I’m impressed with how much they’ve played, how hard they have played, and how much emotion has happened considering the shorter length of time.”
In preparation for Sunday’s two-hour finale, EW asked Grodner to look back at the season’s highlights, and whether the show tries to prepare itself for quitters like Keshia and Metta.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The celebrities have really settled into the game, just like civilian Big Brother players, right?
ALLISON GRODNER: It’s crazy. It’s really a tribute to the social experiment of it all. You’re cut off and it all happens just like its been happening over the last 18 years. They do spend a lot of hours doing their hair and makeup, probably more so than our previous houseguests. Other than that, they are absolutely knocking around, doing their thing, just like [regular players].
It sure seems like Omarosa has a lot of fancy dresses.
She has a lot of clothes. But so do the others. I’m impressed that Ariadna [Gutiérrez] has the amount of clothes she has. My gosh. It’s a new outfit and a new look for her every day.
Julie Chen definitely made fun of Omarosa Manigault’s bout of asthma (for more, click here). In retrospect, did Omarosa really need to go to the hospital?
She was having an asthma attack and she was having trouble breathing. When that happens, we don’t question it. I was there. She had oxygen, there was a medic, there was a sense that she needed immediate medical attention. We take that very seriously.
Did you question whether she deserved to go back in the game?
Ultimately, her health and safety were our primary concern. But there were producers with her the whole time, making sure that she stayed in the bubble. That was really the determination. If we had any sense that she wasn’t still in our Big Brother bubble, we’d have to make a call on that. But she was cleared by the doctor and she stayed in the bubble. So we were okay about letting her back in.
Is there language in their contracts about quitting? It’s a shame that Keshia Knight Pulliam and Metta World Peace wanted to leave the game.
I won’t comment specifically on contracts, but it’s important to Big Brother that people don’t quit. We don’t forcibly keep them in, but we always impress upon people that quitting is not something we take likely.
Keshia used the excuse about her dwindling breast milk supply, which was valid, but she obviously had the baby before she decided to go into the house. It felt like a convenient excuse because she didn’t want to play the game anymore.
When she was in the house, she played the game. I think she was very emotional that night and felt like she needed to leave. She felt her child would suffer. I’m not going to question her on that one.
In retrospect, was it not a great idea to move them into the house so early, days before the show began on CBS?
Everyone else in this house has been able to do this and embrace the game. As with any season of Big Brother, there are people who get homesick, there are people who have medical issues, there have people who have things you can’t predict. So no, I don’t think it was too early. It’s expect the unexpected for everyone.
Were you happy that a showmance didn’t get in the way of gameplay this season?
It’s fun to see showmances happen over the course of the summer. We certainly have had some successful ones, as you’ve seen with Cody and Jessica on The Amazing Race. That led to a lot of interesting drama in the house. I think it’s good when they happen. What I love about every season about Big Brother, including this one, is that they are all very different.
Can you see this becoming an annual thing?
I hope that ultimately people enjoyed this and would like to see more. If they do, we are more than happy to do this again. It’s been a lot of fun.
Are you willing to predict who will win Sunday?
I’m not very good at predicting these things, as you’ve seen over the years. We will be going into the finale with five people so truly, anything can happen. It’s hard to say. We’ll have a double eviction tonight. You’ve got some people playing a really good game who are safer than the others. I think someone like Ross has a good shot, Marissa has a good shot, Mark and James and Ari… they all have a really good shot of making it to the end.
The penultimate episode of Celebrity Big Brother airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.