CBS has announced the network's summer premiere dates for its slate of unscripted programming, and true to form for its reality shows, the schedule features a twist.
The first is that unlike the past two seasons of the show, which premiered the first week of July, season 25 will not premiere until almost a full month later, on August 2. (Season 22 premiered August 5 back in 2020, but that was due to delays imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.)
CBS Julie Chen Moonves on 'Big Brother'
The late start might indicate that the network is planning to air the season well into the fall as protection against the ongoing writers' strike. The delayed season 22 ran all the way until October 28, and the last time we saw a writers' strike, in 2008, CBS threw together a somewhat ill-fated special spring edition of Big Brother to help fill schedule gaps.
While CBS notes that the schedule for season 25 of Big Brother includes episodes airing Sundays (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT), Wednesdays (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT), and Thursdays (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), the Wednesday installments would conflict with the recently announced Wednesday fall block featuring extended 90-minute episodes of Survivor and The Amazing Race.
The next seasons of Survivor and Amazing Race have already been completed and will presumably launch in mid- or late September, but CBS could always switch Big Brother to other nights in the fall, thereby filling holes created by the potential absence of scripted programming.
CBS Taylor Hale on 'Big Brother'
However, this is not the only twist in the Big Brother announcement. It also states, "In a special 90-minute episode, Big Brother premieres its milestone 25th season as a group of all-new Houseguests moves into the Big Brother House."
While many had assumed that the landmark 25th season of the show — which looked like a sure bet for cancellation after its disastrous first season back in 2000 — would be filled with all-star returning players, the "all-new Houseguests" line seems to indicate that the next crop of
victims contestants will be new players only, perhaps because the series already staged an all-stars season just three summers ago.
Several Big Brother luminaries have lobbied for a shorter "legends" season, and if the writers' strike gets settled sooner rather than later, it's always possible that CBS could pivot and air an abbreviated installment with returning champions like Rachel Reilly, Dan Gheesling, and Will Kirby, who might not sign on for a longer stay back in the house.
Either way, we will see some former Big Brother players back on CBS this summer, as the network also announced the return of The Challenge: USA on August 10. Featuring contestants from Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race, The Challenge: USA will air on Thursdays and Sundays for its first three weeks before settling into its regular Thursday slot. It remains to be seen if Survivor players will once again obliterate the competition.
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