(CBS) – Big Brother will air the first live elimination of season 23 tonight at 8:00PM ET/PT on CBS as well as streaming with Paramount+ and the CBS App. This season is the biggest one yet with the tag line “No Risk, No Reward” and $750K on the line.

CBS’ Matt Weiss spoke to host Julie Chen Moonves about the new season, new house and the show’s record-setting jackpot.

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MW: Nice to see you again Julie! Big Brother season 23 on the air, the show’s been around since 2000, so it’s legally old enough to drink a beer now. What does it feel like to be on a show with that kind of staying power?

 

JCM: You know, we tell the house guest to expect the unexpected and this was definitely unexpected for me. I remember when we launched season one we had came on the heels of Survivor and we were not as well received…far from it. I remember someone saying, oh do you think they’ll cancel us mid-season? I was like that can happen? Yeah, it’s something I never expected in my life. It’s not something I went to school to become because it didn’t exist back then but here we are. Slow and steady wins the race.

 

MW: This season’s motto is “no risk, no reward.” How has that motto influenced the production of the show getting things ready for the houseguests?

 

JCM: It’s always a challenge. This summer same as last has been a bigger challenge because of COVID protocols. A lot of the competitions in the backyard, we’ve had to modify them, so that you’re not going in and out as much. We have to expect the unexpected, stay on our toes. Even down to when we were about to launch and move in 16 new houseguests, everyone had been quarantined, everyone had been vaccinated. One of the potential houseguest tested positive for COVID with no symptoms. She did a little bit of press and she had to stay home. Instead we got Claire and she’s an interesting player to watch. Every year is unique, every year has brand new challenges for even us who work on the show to face.

 

MW: Another thing new this year, the prize money is a little bit richer than usual. Can you feel the stakes are a little bit higher for everyone knowing there’s that extra $250k?

 

JCM: That’s a good question. All the houseguests, when they first moved in, they were under the impression it was the normal $500,000 they would win, if they won. To see their expression when I said, “It’s another 250 add on top of that”, I think in that moment they were feeling the heat. But I think there’s so much heat in that house anyway, with who can I trust? Who’s in power? Do I have to kiss up to this person? Do I have to distance myself from that person? It’s always risky in the Big Brother House. We’re just calling it what it is this season.

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MW: One of my favorite parts every year is when the house is revealed and you can actually see everything for the first time. What was your impression of this house and everything that went into making it?

 

JCM: I was unsure how it was going to be having this whole door to the bathroom area and an indoor gym, instead of outside. My impression was, wow, this looks so great on camera. It really does capture the theme of a beach club in Monte Carlo very James Bond-y. You always have your villains, we have a few Bond girls; I’m not quite sure who’s James Bond though. It feels like everything I do in this house is a gamble. There’s always the classic chessboard but the dice and the neon sign that says “No risk, no reward” is another nice touch. Everything is not what it seems, that’s the Big Brother House. That’s the whole premise. Who can you really trust? No one but yourself.

 

MW: That leads into tonight where we’ll have the first live eviction of the season, so what do we have in store?

 

JCM: I will say that I’m going into tonight thinking I have an educated guess on who’s going, but what I’ve seen is things change on a dime. It’s like a game of telephone, someone will get an idea and then it spreads in the house and sometimes it’s accurate, sometimes it’s not. It sways people. I think no matter who it is, there’s going to be a fair share of fans that are disappointed to see either Travis or Alyssa go. They’re both interesting people to watch. Alyssa is beautiful and Travis is easy on the eyes too. I’m going to feel very awkward and sorry for that person who’s like, “I was the first person voted out”. No one wants to be that person.

 

MW: But someone’s got to do it every season and tonight we’ll find out who takes that crown. Thank you so much Julie always a pleasure, all the best! 

 

JCM: Thank you Matt, same to you!

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New episodes of Big Brother air Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights on CBS with extra content available to stream with Paramount+. Check your local listings for more information.