He was there. And then he was gone. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was announced as one of the houseguests for season 2 of Celebrity Big Brother. And then he entered the house and acted and played like a houseguest. But suddenly, the Mooch was nowhere to be found. And then he was spotted outside the house at a conference. What gives?
On Friday’s episode of Celebrity Big Brother, it was revealed that Scaramucci was never a houseguest after all, but was just pretending to be one as a twist in the game. The contestants were befuddled, but so were viewers. Had the Mooch quit and producers were trying to cover it up? Or had Scaramucci simply been unable to commit to a full season of filming so this was a way for CBS to still capitalize on his presence via publicity — especially after Omarosa generated so many headlines in season 1 — without making him a full-time resident? We caught up with Scaramucci to get the scoop on his time in the house, and why he is no longer in it.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So obviously viewers had a lot of questions after it was announced you were not actually a houseguest and were there as a twist. Some people theorized that you maybe you had actually quit and the producers were covering it up. Did you quit the game?
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: Listen, I absolutely did not quit the game. The producers from day one pitched me the idea of becoming a twist in the show. I have to confess to you that they turned me into a superfan, but I hadn’t really seen the show prior to them pitching me. And so my wife and I looked at it and I said, “You know what? It looks like a lot of fun. It fits into my schedule.” I gotta tell you, these producers are world-class people, so I was like “I’m gonna do it.”
So it was planned from day one. I know there are people that think we didn’t land on the moon and there are people that think there is a conspiracy here or a conspiracy there but there’s no conspiracy here. It was a straight-up, well-planned twist for the show, and I think it was probably one of the more bigger, historical twists where somebody that everyone thought was a houseguest slipped out in the middle of the day…and I had to get Joey Lawrence to pack my stuff to take it home with me.
Do you have your stuff yet?
I got my stuff! Joey, as you can tell from the show, is a very meticulous guy. And so my stuff was folded and packed in way better shape than I could ever put it in myself.
So when you first started talking to the producers about appearing on the show, were they like, “Hey, we’d love for you to be a houseguest this season”? And then how did you end up with the twist thing? Were you like, “I have this conference and some other things outside of the house so I can’t do it the whole time,” and then it evolved into this?
Well, the problem is I’ve got young children, and [the producers] actually premeditated it and recognized that someone like me, there is no way I could take 25, 30 days off. As much as I would have loved to have done that, I’ve got a 12 billion dollar company that I’m running and I’ve got young children ages 4 and 1, so listen, I would love to be a full-blown houseguest and play that game. It is one of the more fascinating games in television history. And I also think that’s the reason it is 21 years old and will likely be 41 years old. Because there’s just so much intrigue and, like a sporting event, there’s a lot of stuff that’s going on that’s live-action that you want to be in an appointment television position to watch, the same way you would an NFC Championship or a Super Bowl.
I’m curious then — what were your instructions in terms of being in the house? Were you instructed, “Hey, don’t win HOH or the Power of Veto competitions?” How did that work?
No, my plan was to play the game as hard as possible until the last minute. I think the only thing I could say is that I was holding back a little bit on cutting a super strong hard deal with somebody because I didn’t want to hurt anybody that was in the show. There was a scene — and this is before the live feeds went up — where Ricky [Williams] had the veto, and he was looking for me and/or Tom [Green] to convince him why he should utilize the veto on me and/or Tom, and I didn’t push him super hard on that because I didn’t want to be that guy, where I won the veto from him and then I’m slipping out the back door in a couple of days.
I think that was the only thing I altered, but I went very hard. I got put on the block early by Ryan. No surprise there. I was trying to figure out a way to get myself off the block by winning one of those competitions. But, of course, I stunk at those competitions. But I was trying hard. You can see me on that horse, there’s no way you can say the guy was not trying to win that competition.
Whom did you like the most in the house? Whom did you form the closest bond with while you were in there?
Listen, l liked every single person in the house. That’s not a political comment. I really was so happy when I walked in there that we all had an element of social anxiety. I had a good vibe from everybody, but the person I spent the most time with was Tom Green. We played about 15 hours of chess, we shot pool, and I had a loose alliance with him and Kato [Kaelin], so he was the guy who I spent the most time with. And Jonathan Bennett was world class guy. I think the real funny thing about it is we’re coming from different sides of the aisle, but we realized it was very easy for us to strike up a friendship.
At one point in the house, you talked about how Trump has never tweeted anything bad about you and wouldn’t because he knows you might have some things to say yourself. Was that a warning to the president?
Not necessarily a warning. He’s smart enough to already know that. At the end of the day, we’re both New Yorkers. I like the president. I respect him. Obviously, I don’t agree with everything that he’s doing and I’m a free-spirited independent person, so when people ask me, I give them an honest opinion. But at the end of the day, I still like and support the president.
Having said that, he has a history of turning on people, so my prediction — which I said off the cuff — was that he will likely not turn on me. Number one, I’ve never turned on him. And I’ve been loyal. But number two, why does he need that aggravation, because, you know, I’ve got a similar level of energy and similar level of tongue speed that the president has. So there’d be no need for him to do that.
Did you feel any negative vibes from any of the contestants when you first walked into the house due to your association with the president?
If that were the case, people did a good job of hiding that. I think there was a high level of cordiality. It felt like harking back 35 years ago to my freshman year in orientation week where everybody was giving each other the benefit of the doubt and I felt like there was no stigma to being associated with the president. I know in Hollywood everybody claims that they hate the president, but trust me, I spent enough time in L.A. to know that there’s a good 30 to 40 percent of those people who secretly like him.
You were in there. You were in the house. So who do you think is going to win this game?
Here’s what it seems to be for me: The slower you play, the longer you seem to last. The people that come out of the gate super hard have a tendency to flame out because they put targets on their back. In Jonathan’s case, I think his hard play in the beginning was accidental because he had that super twist where he [won] the HOH competition. There [was] two of them — one became the HOH, and one [went up] on the block. So I don’t think he really had a choice and that cost him early.
But the people who are playing a little slower of a game — guys like Tom and Kato or Kandi [Burruss] or even Dina [Lohan]‚ it will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of weeks, but my prediction is that those are the people that are going to float to the top. And my money is actually on Tom. We’ll see if I’m right.