The motto of Big Brother is "expect the unexpected" so we should have known that CBS' announcement that it was (finally) producing its own season of Celebrity Big Brother would come with a surprising caveat. The show's host Julie Chen, who is married to CBS chief Leslie Moonves, revealed that her husband forced her to take a pay cut in order for the celebrity spin-off to happen.
"If you know one thing about my husband, it has to make economic sense. He comes home for dinner and says in a very Godfather, mafioso-style, 'Jules, you tell your lawyer this is not a negotiation. This is what the deal is and you're going to accept it.' And I said, 'Is that the way you speak to your wife?'" Chen told The Hollywood Reporter. "He said, 'You tell your attorney this is not a game we're playing. Everyone's taking a haircut. This is the only way it will make sense financially. You shouldn't be expected to be paid as if it's a full series. It's a condensed version.'"
This is where we probably should note that the lawyer representing Chen that Moonves keeps referring to is his own brother, Jon Moonves, because this family apparently loves mixing business and personal.
But first, as Chen would say, it's true that the way Moonves went about getting Chen to take a pay cut may not have been the most delicate, but the network boss did have a good reason for the demand. While a typical Big Brother season lasts for over 90 days, the upcoming celebrity edition is expected to have a much shorter run time. (The U.K. seasons of Celebrity Big Brother have lasted anywhere between eight and 32 days.)
So Big Brother fans, don't say the Chenbot has never done anything for you.
Big Brother 19 airs Sundays and Wednesdays at 8/7c and Thursdays at 9/8c on CBS. Celebrity Big Brother will premiere this winter.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)