Ever since its inauspicious debut in the year 2000, Big Brother has become an annual rite of passage (or, self-inflicted torture) each and every summer. The reality competition series which looked like a good bet to get canceled after its very first installment will return in July with its landmark 25th season. (The math is a bit weird because CBS aired an extra spring installment in 2008 due to a writer’s strike.)
While Big Brother burrowed its way into CBS’ schedule — and our all-too-receptive brains — to make itself an annual event during the warmer months, it appeared as if the reality TV parasite was set to consume even more of its host when the Julie Chen Moonves-led series launched a Celebrity edition in 2018.Featuring at least somewhat famous faces like Mark McGrath, Shannon Elizabeth, and Omarosa, season 1 of Celebrity Big Brother (or Big Brother: Celebrity Edition, as it is known on your DVRs) debuted on Feb. 7, 2018 to compete almost nightly against the Winter Olympics. The season lasted only 13 episodes over two-and-a-half weeks and culminated with Marissa Jaret Winokur’s victory over Ross Matthews.
Realizing they had a model for cheap, original programming that could act as a stopgap in place of scripted reruns as well as a placeholder until other reality shows like Survivor returned in the spring, CBS brought back the celebrity edition a year later in 2019. It was an installment filled with fireworks as well as the relentlessly entertaining antics of Tamar Braxton, who ultimately triumphed in a unanimous vote over former NFL star Ricky Williams.