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Anthony Scaramucci Explains How Surprise Big Brother Twist Came About

'The Mooch' also reveals which contestant he hopes becomes a lifetime friend

Dalene Rovenstine

Every season of Big Brother, Julie Chen warns the houseguests -- and the audience -- to expect the unexpected. That line has never been truer than with the "Mooch twist" of Celebrity Big Brother season 2.

Despite being one of the first houseguests put on the block, Anthony Scaramucci knew he wouldn't be voted out. Instead, he secretly left the house because he was a fake houseguest. Julie gave the remaining houseguests the "Breaking Celebrity News," that Scaramucci was never really playing the game but instead was planting clues for the first-ever second veto competition.

"Mooch's Veto" was a memory game, where the contestants were given a variety of headlines, some true and some "fake news," and had to remember which accurately represented what the former White House communications director said on the show.

Kato Kaelin's alliance with Scaramucci gave him an edge in this comp, and he came out the victor. Turns out there was a method to the "Mooch-tastic" madness. Here, TV Guide was able to speak with Scaramucci about how this twist came about, what it was like being in the house, and how he became such a big fan of the game.

Well, that was a very big surprise for all of us. How did the idea of you being a fake houseguest come about?

Scaramucci: Basically, what happened is the producers came to me and pitched me on the idea of being part of the "twist." And I have to confess to you, I didn't even know what that meant. I wasn't up to speed on all the terminology of the show, and then when they laid it out for me and explained it to me, my wife and I did a little bit of research on the show, and I thought it would be a tremendous amount of fun. And, frankly, it fit my schedule, and so I said, yeah, I'm happy to do it.

So I went into sequester for a couple of days before we moved into the house, and then I spent six days in the house, and then I dropped the bomb on my fellow housemates. Which, I have to tell you, if you're a prankster like I once was in high school, it was very, very enjoyable for me to do that.

So you didn't know about Big Brother beforehand?

Scaramucci: I have to confess -- I've been a little bit more focused on business. I didn't really know anything about Big Brother. But these guys, in the process of doing this with me, they've turned me into a superfan. I have to confess, I was watching the live feeds last night.

Wow! You're a very big fan now if you're watching live feeds!

Scaramucci: Well, how could you not be? It's so much fun.

I thought you were a fan of the show just because the way you talked in the house. You seemed to know what was going on, so did you do research before going in?

Scaramucci: Yeah. I watched Season 20 of the regular Big Brother, or at least a good part of it, and then I watched all of the celebrity Big Brother season, the one that Marissa [Jaret Winokur] won. Then I wrote down a lot of what the lexicon was, so I think by the time I had done all of that homework, I was a lot more up to speed on the vernacular and the potential strategies to employ.

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When you were in the house, did you get into the gameplay? Was there a part of you that was upset that you had to leave?

Scaramucci: Oh, 100 percent. I said to the producers, I had an agreement and until it was time to pull the plug on me, it was sort of like being a pitcher in Major League Baseball. Until there was the last inning for me to pitch and pull the plug, I was going to play super hard. It was ironic that I ended up on the block day one, when Ryan put me up. When Ricky [Williams] got the veto, he was looking for people to put out a very strong offer to him, and I did not do that because I knew I was leaving. I thought that would be very bad karma for me to get the veto from Ricky and then walk out of the show. That was the only thing that I held back on because I just didn't think that was fair to him or any of the other houseguests. My goal was come in, play super hard, but do no harm to anybody that was in the show.

And then your leaving allowed for another veto comp...

Scaramucci: What I loved about the producers' idea of the quote-unquote "Mooch Veto" is that it gave my fellow housemates an opportunity to stay in the game. The people who were on the block, they got a second chance. One of the teases was I obviously didn't get a second chance in the White House, but here I am at the Big Brother house, giving my fellow houseguests a second chance. I liked that spin a lot.

I talked to Jonathan on Saturday, and he said, looking back, he felt like you were dropping those lines for the Mooch veto intentionally. Were they planned, or did the producers build the veto off of what you said organically?

Scaramucci: It was a combination of things. What the producers said to me was, "Come up with some weird lines or something like that," and I said, "Why?" And they were like, "Well, we can't really tell you why. We want the thing to be totally and completely unscripted." I had no idea that there was going to be a quote-unquote "Mooch's Veto." I was actually in the diary room making that presentation to the camera when I learned that there was going to be a Mooch's Veto. The producers had said, "We want to make [these lines] about your favorite subject," and I said, "Me." I was like, "You guys are great. You sound like my wife," like beating up on me. But anyway, I know how to take a joke, particularly at my own expense, so I was totally fine with it.

But, yeah, I tried to come up with a few cute lines. One of them was "Mooch-tastic." I don't know if you heard that one. I thought that was funny. I was trying to figure out how many seconds I lasted in the White House, and it turns out that I lasted about 954,000 seconds, so I'm the one that came up with that. And so they incorporated that into the quote-unquote "press room."

What do you miss most about the house?

Scaramucci: I miss those guys. I think Jonathan is an exceptional person. I think that was one of the coolest parts of the show is that we came from different backgrounds, we probably have different political persuasions and things like that, but I hope to have a lifetime friendship with somebody like Jonathan. I just think he's a wonderful person.

He said something very similar about you!

Scaramucci: Oh, did he? Okay. Oh, good. That makes me feel good because I thought he was an amazing guy. We had some very intense conversations late at night that I think we both appreciated about life, and equality, and making sure that we take care of everybody. I'd just like to say this on the record: He had that unfortunate circumstance where, in the process of winning, he got put on the block. He's winning the HOH competition, but that was really the first mega-twist. Because he's playing with an Olympic athlete, he wins, but then he ends up on the chopping block. I think one of the problems with the show, I learned, is that the slower you play, it seems like, the longer you can last. The people who come out of the box super strong like Shannon did last year have a tendency to be targeted, and so it's just unfortunate for Jonathan. But he had no choice but to play hard, because he was already in that vulnerable position, and, frankly, the same one that I was in on the first day.

Who are you rooting for now?

Scaramucci: I got along with everybody, but I was probably closest to Tom Green. We probably played 15 hours of chess together. We played pool together and had extensive talks, and so forth. I think he is somebody that could go the distance because he's a little bit more low key, and he's very, very strategic. We'll have to see what happens, but I would think somebody like Tom would be that sort of Marissa character. Marissa did an amazing job last year where she had a few alliances, she wasn't overly in anybody's face, and then obviously she won the jury. Ross played like a chess match, like a Jedi master last year, but I think he upset a few people, which is why the vote went against him. If you said to me, "Okay, who played the game the hardest and the best," I would've said Ross, but I understand why Marissa won, because of the social psychology involved in the show. It's a tricky line. The minute you cross over the line, you've got a bullseye on the back of your neck.

Overall, you enjoyed your stay in the house?

Scaramucci: Listen, I loved it. I loved it. I mean, I guess one of the negatives, though, is that you're eating nonstop. You're standing at the kitchen table, and you're kibitzing with everybody, and you're just shoveling food into your mouth. There's no shortage of very high quality, amazing food, junk food and otherwise. But it was an amazing experience for me. The only downside for me is I am now hooked into the show, and at 1 o'clock in the morning, I'm watching live feeds. I probably shouldn't be doing that. I was watching them play pool last night while I was supposedly sleeping.

Did you enjoy your stay in the White House or the Big Brother house more?

Scaramucci: No one's ever asked me that before. It's a really good question. I would say that I enjoyed the first 10 days of my White House stay, and I absolutely hated my 11th day. So that was a big bummer. If you took those 11 days and put them on a scale, I had way more fun in the Big Brother house.

Even though I was only in the White House for 11 days, it was an honor to serve the country, and I was doing the best I could. I made a mistake, and it was something that I got fired for, and if you've seen in any of my interviews, I've been very accountable for it. It's not like I blame anybody other than myself, and you may have caught this, but I just invited General John Kelly [President Trump's former chief of staff], the person that fired me, to my conference in May in Las Vegas. He's going to be interviewed there by me. My attitude is bygones are bygones, and I think it's a learning lesson. If you make a mistake, own up to it and move on.

But, no, of course, I had more fun in the Big Brother house because, I mean, you're in the Big Brother house with Tamar Braxton. You know what I mean? She wasn't in the White House with me! I mean, if she was in the White House, maybe it would've been more fun. You know what I'm saying? Are you watching her in interviews? Her interviews are literally making me cry. I never thought about having bacon in the diary room, but if I ever get invited back, maybe I'll bring a whole side order of bacon every time I go into the diary room.

Literally, it was one of the most fun times I've had. I laughed from the moment I got into the house to the spoof I played on everybody, and it really does make you feel young again. And I told one of the producers, I said, "Hey, if you and I were in college together, we never would've gotten out of college. We'd be throwing cherry bombs at the people in the dorm rooms and stuff like that, you know?" It was just really a lot of fun to do that.

Well, I think you should consider a career in acting because you definitely tricked all of us.

Scaramucci: I pulled it off, right? Jonathan said that to me on Saturday. He said, "Mooch, you were tight as a drum." He goes, "I would've never known that you were ready to blast out of there." I said, "You don't know how hard it was for me." Because I wear everything on my sleeve. I said, "You don't know how hard it was for me to keep that going." But it was great, great, great fun, and obviously, when I surprised them, I thought that the outtakes of their faces were priceless. It made the whole thing worth it to me.

I'll let you get back to the live feeds. Don't get sucked in for too long. That can happen.

Scaramucci: Right, exactly. I've got to put a timer on my phone when I'm watching the live feed.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)