Big Brother

Vin Diesel was nowhere to be found on CBS Wednesday night, and yet the action came both fast and furious on the live 90-minute season premiere of Big Brother. After four different challenges to select captains, all the players being divided into teams of four, and then the season's first Head of Household competition, Frenchie and his Jokers emerged victorious, making him the first HOH and his entire team of Azah, Britini, and Derek F. safe from eviction.

But, of course, there was a twist. Frenchie was offered a double or nothing opportunity, where if he chose to take it, he could double his team's safety for two weeks if he could land two large dice on a platform. But if he failed, his entire team would lose safety for week one. Frenchie declined the offer, and then went ahead and landed the dice anyway in a "just for fun" game to see how he would have done if he had tried.

The other big wrinkle in the premiere was the announcement that Big Brother was raising the winner's prize money to $750,000. How will the increased jackpot influence the game? We asked host Julie Chen Moonves that and more, including what she would have done if presented with the double or nothing offer?

big brother, Brandon 'Frenchie' French
Brandon 'Frenchie' French on 'Big Brother'
| Credit: CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Take us behind the scenes and tell us what it was like navigating the live premiere this time. Any near logistical disasters in terms of anything almost not working out or especially tricky moments that needed to be navigated?

JULIE CHEN MOONVES: The biggest concern was timing. We went into the show feeling we had to keep things moving to make sure we had time to get all five competitions completed so we had time for the last tempting challenge to the HOH.  No matter what decision the HOH made, we wanted to have time to do the challenge… just to see how it would have turned out. We fluctuated the whole night between commercial breaks being heavy and then light so it was a balancing act for me to either slow down or speed up speaking and competitions. No "Have Not" room being locked this year!   

What was your take on the four teams once they were divided up? Any team you think looks particularly strong or one that may struggle, either competition or personality-wise?

The word behind the scenes is… that all four teams look formidable… and I agree. Each team has its share of brains, brawn, and beauty.  Those are three things that come in handy in the Big Brother house!

Frenchie did not take the double or nothing offer to risk his team's one week of safety to get two. What would you have done in that instance, Julie?

I would have went for it!  Especially if I were Frenchie and had his skills at games. The man has not lost a competition yet!  Already, he has 3 wins under his belt. His record is off to a tremendous start.  

Once Frenchie did NOT take the deal, should he have purposefully lost the just-for-fun dice throwing just so he didn't come off as such a huge competition beast so early in the game?

I thought the same thing. But not so he wouldn't come off as a comp beast. I thought he should have lost on purpose so he could be the hero to his team, showing them he made the right decision and kept them all safe.   

Finally, how do you think upping the prize money to $750,000 changes how these folks play the game?

I think it will make them play harder and maybe even dirtier. That's A LOT of money. We just turned things up to 11.  

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Big Brother
Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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